Duke Energy applying for lined landfill at Lee facility

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For coal ash

By Stan Welch

As intimated since beginning the truck operations to haul coal ash from the Lee Steam Plant to a landfill in Homer Georgia, Duke Energy Carolinas has announced its plans to create a lined landfill on site at the Lee facility. The landfill, which will be lined with clay as well as a synthetic liner, will serve as the final resting place for approximately 2.2 million tons of coal ash, or two thirds of the byproduct on site; while the truck operation will also continue until the additional 1 million tons is hauled off site.

The on site landfill is designated as a commercial site and will accept no waste from other sources. Since it will be licensed and function as a Class 3 landfill, the state regulations that enforce a seventy five mile radius between landfills will not come into play.

The site will encompass approximately thirty five acres, including part of the existing secondary ash basin, whose contents will be transferred to the primary ash basin to free its acreage up for inclusion into the landfill footprint.

Danielle Peoples, Corporate Communications Representative specializing in Duke Energy’s coal ash disposal program, said that Duke engineers always had an eye towards constructing an on site landfill, and had been encouraged by the results of the truck operations.

“The trucks have worked well in disposing of the coal ash, but there are significant advantages to an on site landfill. First and foremost is that the use of the trucks will be decreased tremendously, and therefore the traffic issues will be resolved much more quickly. In fact, since both projects will proceed apace with one another, the total time for conclusion of disposal will be reduced.”

Peoples also pointed out that the lined landfill, which will include multiple layers of natural and synthetic materials, will also include sophisticated system for the collection of the leachate, or liquid that collects at the bottom of the landfill. “This is one of the first two landfills like this in South Carolina. The beauty of this is that the coal ash will be stored in a dry state, much less prone to leakage or flow.”

“In addition, the landfill itself will be covered with a protective capping system, essentially containing the ash and separating it from the surrounding soil and groundwater. When we ultimately close the site, there are a number of possibilities as to its final use. Those are still under study but the planting of a variety of vegetation is a strong option. The site will not be visible from any of the public roads in the area, due to the elevation features of the steam plant property.”

Duke Energy announced this week that it is filing a notice of intent to construct the landfill to DHEC, which oversees the permitting process.

Submission of the actual permit application documents will take place next October, with a possible approval time from six months to two years after the submission.

As part of the application process, Duke Energy Carolinas is required to contact all adjacent property owners by mail, informing them of the intent to construct the landfill.

Peoples said that those letters will be in the mail in the near future. They will include the notice of intent, a letter explaining the scope and purpose of the project, and a site map, as well as contact information.

Officials said there are many steps Duke Energy must go through before SCDHEC will approve a landfill. Over the next several months, there will be opportunities for the public to provide input on the landfill.

For additional information regarding the permitting process for the landfill, contact Timothy M. Eleazer, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Bureau of Land and Waste Management,2600 Bull Street, Columbia, SC 29201 or by phone (803) 898-1374, Email: eleazetm@dhec.sc.gov