State cites Duke Energy for permit violations at Asheville coal ash dump | News

State cites Duke Energy for permit violations at Asheville coal ash dump

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This didn't take very long. 

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) said Wednesday that it has cited Duke Energy for a pair of permit violations at its Asheville Regional Airport dumping site.  

According to the notice of violations, which you can read in its entirety here, Duke inspectors noticed exposed coal combustion products caused by erosion on Oct. 29. Under its permit with DEQ, Duke has 24 hours to notify the state of such a violation, but DEQ's Asheville office did not receive notification until Nov. 2, according to the state agency. 

Duke is expected to dispose of 100 millions of tons of toxic coal ash at its most "high-risk" sites in the next 15 years, following last year's 39,000-ton spill in the Dan River. 

The first violation at the Asheville site is for failing to meet the 24-hour notification requirement, and the second is for "failure to properly maintain" the coal ash dumping ground, one of several Duke is permitted to dump in across North Carolina, including sites in nearby Chatham and Lee counties. 

DEQ says no coal ash was found to have migrated offsite. The energy company will have 30 days to respond to the notice of violations and, according to state law, Duke could pick up penalties of up to $25,000 per day of violation if it does not correct the problem. 

Environmental groups and residents living near N.C. coal ash dumping grounds have long questioned whether the practice will wreak long-term environmental harm, given that the coal ash contains potentially toxic heavy metals. But Duke Energy has promised to do no harm at the dumping grounds. 

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