Dominion Energy South Carolina has removed more than 3.5 million dry tons of coal ash from a storage pond at the company’s power plant near Eastover. The closure of the coal ash storage facility is 13 months ahead of schedule, the company said.
The coal ash was removed from a 100-acre pond at the Wateree Station power plant in lower Richland County.
Coal ash is a byproduct of the coal-fired electric generation process. It was common industry practice for decades to deposit coal ash into ash ponds, which are wet-storage facilities.
Dominion Energy’s South Carolina predecessor, S.C. Electric & Gas Co., committed to closing all its operating ash ponds in the state. In 2011, SCE&G reached a voluntary agreement with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to remove all coal ash from the Wateree Station pond by 2022.
DHEC inspectors certified completion of the removal in November.
Nearly 80% of the coal ash produced at Wateree Station is recycled for Environmental Protection Agency-approved use in products such as cement and wallboard. Materials that could not be recycled were deposited in a lined landfill at the Wateree Station.
“With the completion of this project, the Wateree River, Eastover and the Congaree National Park are safer than they have been in years,” said Frank Holleman, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. “At Wateree, Dominion Energy and its predecessor, SCE&G, have set a standard for other utilities to follow.”