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Duke falls behind with Dan dredging schedule

SoVaNow.com / July 07, 2014
By John R. Crane,
Danville Register & Bee
Reprinted with permission


Duke Energy is running behind schedule on its cleanup of the coal ash deposit near the Schoolfield Dam.

Jeff Brooks, a Duke spokesman, said Thursday the company expects dredging to be complete later this month, followed by several weeks of demobilization and restoration at Abreu-Grogan Park.

“Rest assured we’re working as quickly as we can to get out of the park,” Brooks said. “But we’re not going to do that until we’re sure we’ve removed the deposit and the work has been approved by the EPA .”

Duke officials said in May — when dredging began — that the work would be finished in late June and the park re-opened in July. It may be August before Abreu-Grogan Park, which is home to a popular boat launch, is available to the public.

Brooks said a couple of weather delays and “technical fine-tuning” — including excess water in a couple of dry-ash containers, which forced the contractor to make adjustments to add drying time for the ash in those containers — increased the time it would take to complete the project.

The first full day of dredging was on May 12, when Duke contractor Phillips and Jordan of Knoxville, Tennessee, began removing the 2,500-ton coal-ash deposit near the dam. The deposit was about 350 yards long by 20 yards wide, and about a foot deep.

More than 2,000 tons of coal ash and river sediment have been removed from the dam, Brooks said. The material has been taken to Upper Piedmont landfill in Person County near Roxboro, North Carolina. The permitted landfill is double-lined with groundwater monitoring, Brooks said.

About 39,000 tons of coal ash spilled into the Dan River on Feb. 2 when a drainpipe failed at Duke’s old Dan River Steam Station in Eden, North Carolina. The spill coated the river bottom with toxic sludge for about 75 miles.

At another site, Duke has completed cleanup of a coal ash deposit and river sediment where Town Creek meets the Dan River in Eden. The site is about two miles downriver from the Dan River Steam Station.

Crews excavated 258 tons of material from the site over the past week, according to a news release from Duke Energy. The material was also taken to the Upper Piedmont landfill in Person County.

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