Duke Energy to move coal ash from Robinson Lake - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Duke Energy to move coal ash from Robinson Lake

HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - Duke Energy announced it will start the process of moving coal ash from the Robinson Lake facility to a new landfill Thursday.

The announcement came the same day as a scheduled public hearing to discuss coal ash concerns at the same site.

The public meeting disclosed information on poisonous contamination and other risks at a coal ash site in Darlington County.

The Coastal Conservation League sponsored the meeting. The group said it aimed to educate citizens on the dangers of groundwater contamination from over 4 million tons of toxic coal ash at the closed Robinson coal-fired electric generation plant on Lake Robinson in Hartsville.

During the meeting, folks who live around the area posed questions to both Duke Energy and local environmental groups.

Those groups have been reporting for years that coal ash is toxic and contains traces of things like arsenic and lead.

The coal ash sets in unlined pits 18 feet into the groundwater.

Results from recent tests show that arsenic contamination in the groundwater that flows into Lake Robinson, exceeds 1000 parts per billion, over 100 times the state standard.

In the 1980s and 90s, low-level radioactive waste was dumped into an unlined pit, further contaminating the ash and water.

Participants called on Duke Energy for a common sense solution to the toxic contamination; remove the coal ash to lined, dry storage away from public waters, “as South Carolina utilities are doing at every single one of their coal ash sites in our state – except Duke Energy's Robinson site in Darlington County,” according to the group.

Duke Energy said it will continue to look out for the best for the environment and community and this plan is an example of that.

"When we're looking for a long-term solution, we want to make sure we have all the facts, all the correct analysis, all the research in place so we can make a science-based decision. We want to make sure that we have something in place that will work not just in the short term, but for the foreseeable future at Robinson," said Charles Ellison, Duke Energy.

But Frank Holleman with the Southern Environmental Law Center suggested the power company remove the coal ash entirely.

"The most important thing to do is remove that coal ash which is the source of the contamination and stop it, and put it in safe, dry lined storage away from the lake where you'll stop the pollution. Then, DHEC is gonna have to decide what does Duke need to do to clean up the groundwater that is polluted,” Holleman said.

Currently, Duke Energy said it has submitted permits for the landfill to DHEC.

Stick with WMBF News to update you with the plans as we learn more about them.

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