The Latest: Duke Energy says ash basin leaks nothing new

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on North Carolina environmental regulators citing Duke Energy for leaks at coal ash pits (all times local):

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1:15 p.m.

Duke Energy says there’s “nothing new” about leaks from coal ash basins cited by North Carolina environmental regulators and it’s ultimately addressing the wastewater by drying out the pits and shutting them down.

The nation’s largest electric utility responded to Friday’s announcement by the Division of Water Resources that Duke is violating state law with the leaks and that fines are possible.

The company said in a statement it’s doing everything the state has asked to address the seeps from the ash storage basins.

Duke Energy pointed to a state regulator’s public comments two months ago that seeps occur in every earthen impoundment and that they present a very low risk to dirty surface waters beyond what regulatory standards permit.

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11:30 a.m.

North Carolina environmental regulators say Duke Energy’s coal ash pits are polluting nearby waterways and that they are considering fines.

The state Division of Water Resources sent letters to the country’s largest electric company on Friday. The agency says Duke Energy is violating state law by allowing wastewater to leak from coal ash basins at 12 of the company’s 14 current or former coal-burning power plants.

Wastewater is what leaks from coal ash ponds into nearby water bodies. Coal ash is the residue left after decades of burning coal to generate power. It contains toxic materials like arsenic and chromium.

Duke Energy had no immediate comment.

Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Frank Holleman says his group has been telling Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration about the illegal discharges for three years.

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