An environmental group says Duke Energy is polluting a lake and two river basins with coal ash from its Person County power plant, and officially announced on Monday that it would prosecute the alleged violations.
The utility company disputes the charges and says the waters are safe.
The Southern Environmental Law Center filed the 60-day notice required under the federal Clean Water Act on behalf of the Roanoke River Basin Association. The litigation organization maintains that Lake Hyco and the Dan and Roanoke river basins near the Roxboro site have been illegally polluted.
Duke Energy treats Hyco and the waterways that flow into it as unprotected landfills, according to SELC. The group also claims that coal ash stored in unpaved lagoons allows pollutants to escape continuously.
“Duke Energy treats Hyco Lake as its own sewage lagoon and pollutes it with coal ash contaminants,” said Frank Holleman of SELC. “Hyco Lake is a major recreational asset for the people of North Carolina and should be protected from pollution from Duke Energy coal ash.”
The utility says SELC is trying to circumvent federal regulations and state coal ash laws, which are in place to determine when and how to safely close all of the coal ash storage ponds in the area. State. This lawsuit would also duplicate the same issues that are heard in state courts, according to the company.
âHyco Reservoir has good water quality and is home to a thriving fish population,â Duke spokesperson Erin Culbert said Monday. âWe adhere to strict state permit limits that are designed to protect water quality and the environment. “
This story was originally published March 13, 2017 4:18 pm.