Duke Energy is already responsible for a massive leak of toxic coal ash into waterways in North Carolina but now they’ve been hit with charges by state environmental regulators that they illegally dumped 61 million gallons of unfiltered coal ash waste into a tributary to a major river system.
North Carolina regulators on Thursday cited Duke Energy for illegally and deliberately dumping 61 million gallons of toxic coal ash waste into a tributary of the Cape Fear River, which provides drinking water for several cities and towns in the state.
The incident marks the eighth time in less than a month that the company has been accused of violating environmental regulations. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said Duke — notorious for the February Dan River disaster which saw 82,000 tons of coal ash released into state waters — was taking bright blue wastewaterfrom two of its coal ash impoundments and running it through hoses into a nearby canal and drain pipe.
Duke is reportedly permitted to discharge treated wastewater from the ash ponds into the canal, but only if they are filtered through so-called “risers,” pipes that allow heavier residue in the water to settle out. DENR told ABC News on Thursday that Duke’s pumping bypassed the risers.
“We’re concerned with the volume of water that was pumped and the manner it was pumped,” DENR Communications Director Drew Elliot told ABC. “It did not go through the treatment facility as it should have.”
Isn’t it time to start putting some company executives in prison? Fines do nothing, they get paid as the cost of doing business and it’s probably far less of a financial hit than it would be to have to dispose of the waste properly. The only way this stops is if there are serious consequences for the people in charge.