Monday 23 October 2017

Potomac Riverkeeper: As ash pond closures progress, concern mounts over well water

And others wonder, as coal operators including Dominion and Appalachian Power begin the process of closing ash ponds from Russell County to Chesapeake to meet federal requirements, why the state isn’t conducting more widespread testing of nearby private wells, as the North Carolina legislature required in 2014 after the Duke Energy coal ash spill into the Dan River.

“We’re very concerned about this. The tests are completely inconsistent,” said Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors and a prominent Republican who plans to run for governor.

Potomac RiverkeeperDean Naujoks, who spent more than two decades doing environmental work in North Carolina, including on the Dan River spill, said that, in discussions during the past year on closing Virginia’s coal ash ponds, he implored the state DEQ to get Dominion Virginia Power to pay for testing of private wells — something he considered a “very reasonable ask.”

“I just thought this response from the state was really inadequate,” he said. “They don’t really have a strategy, and it’s because Dominion doesn’t want them to have a strategy. ... We’re talking about peoples’ lives and their property values and public health.”

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(Published in Richmond Times Dispatch, May 15, 2016)