Environmental Groups to Sue Dominion for Alleged Virginia Coal Ash Leaks

Five coal ash ponds at a Dominion power plant in Virginia have discharged coal ash pollutants into waterways for decades, environmental groups allege in a notice. 

The Southern Environmental Law Center, representing the Potomac Riverkeeper and the Sierra Club, on Sept. 17 told Dominion and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that it will sue under the Clean Water Act to stop the release of pollutants from the ponds into Quantico Creek, just before it empties into the Potomac River.

The notice alleges that Dominion abandoned three of the five ponds at its Possum Point power plant nearly 50 years ago and “has since neglected to monitor or remediate these unlined, uncapped ponds.”

The Southern Environmental Law Center further claims that “Dominion had not been forthcoming about the existence of the three ash ponds, and it only sent notification to state officials after this year’s catastrophic coal ash spill in the Dan River thrust coal ash pollution into the national spotlight.” It also says that “Dominion is currently seeking a new permit from DEQ to continue the pollution.”

Following the catastrophic 2008 Kingston, Tenn., coal ash spill, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified eight Virginia coal ash ponds as “significant hazard” ponds due to their potential to cause “economic loss, environment damage, disruption of lifeline facilities, or impact other concerns.” Possum Point’s Ash Pond D and E were rated in “fair” and “satisfactory” condition.

Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel

SHARE this article