RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina environmental regulators say all coal-ash pits at 14 Duke Energy power plants should be excavated and moved.
Wednesday’s announcement by the state Department of Environmental Quality means 25 pits storing the residue left after decades of burning coal for electricity would be dug up and closed by 2024. Eight other pits must be excavated by 2019.
Coal ash contains toxic chemicals including arsenic, lead and chromium. Regulators said in December that elements were leaking from unlined coal-ash pits at 14 Duke power plants.
A massive coal ash spill at a Duke plant in 2014 left a 70-mile stretch of the Dan River coated in toxic sludge and raised concerns about heavy metals in the water.
Duke Energy says its coal ash pits aren’t polluting water supplies.