Update to Coal-Ash Drainage in Potomac River

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Last month I shared a post on the drainage of coal-ash into the Potomac River at a Dominion Electric facility. The Possum Point Power Plant in Prince William County stopped burning coal in 2003, but operations left about 215 million gallons of coal-ash on-site in holding ponds. In January, the Virginia State Water Control Board, whose regulations are enforced by the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), approved a permit allowing Dominion Electric to gradually drain water from the coal-ash ponds into Quantico Creek, which drains into the Potomac River.

This month, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and the Potomac Riverkeepers (who have been monitoring arsenic and selenium levels in Quantico Creek), have banded together to challenge the approval of coal-ash drainage into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, arguing that federal water laws are being overlooked. The Southern Environmental Law Center will be representing the Potomac Riverkeepers in the appeals process.

Likely to come up in the formal proceedings is the fact that even before the State Water Control Board approved the discharge of coal-ash in last month’s approved permit, Dominion Electric had already released almost 34 million gallons of water from its coal-ash holding ponds into the Creek. While Dominion claims that Virginia DEQ knew about and approved this operation, the Potomac Riverkeepers want to ensure that Dominion’s actions were legal under their former permit.

With the James River Association questioning a similar circumstance at a Dominion Electric facility in Bremo Bluff, Virginia, there is a lot of distrust for Dominion Electric, and disappointment with the DEQ among environmental groups and local municipalities when it comes to protecting water quality in our watershed.

(Source: Bay Journal)

 

 

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