Coal Ash - Our Commitment to Getting it Right
For well over 100 years, as America’s economy grew, it relied on coal to provide inexpensive, reliable energy. As we shift to cleaner, less carbon-intensive electric power generating technologies, we have closed 16 older coal generating units.
As we now transition to cleaner energy sources of the future we will continue to be responsible for managing coal ash to ensure the communities we call home are safe and environmentally sound.
Coal ash ponds and landfills have been used for decades to store coal ash – a byproduct of producing electricity at coal power stations. Dominion Energy has 11 coal ash ponds at four facilities and six coal ash landfills at five facilities.
In accordance with new EPA rules, Dominion Energy and all energy producers nationwide must close coal ash ponds on these sites. We are moving to safely and permanently close these ponds while meeting or exceeding all federal, state, and local regulations.
In 2019, bipartisan legislation calling for removal of ash from existing ponds to lined landfills or for recycling was passed by the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law by the governor. Dominion Energy supported that legislation.
In 2018, we started the process of closing 6 of the 11 ash ponds where ash has already been or will be removed from the ponds. Four ponds at Possum Point Power Station and two ponds at Bremo Power Station will be closed in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local environmental regulations and necessary permits. Once permits are obtained, those six ponds are expected to be permanently closed by the end of 2019. Groundwater monitoring and reporting will continue even after the ponds are closed.
We are currently developing site specific plans for closing our five remaining ash ponds at four power stations (Chesterfield, Possum Point, Chesapeake and Bremo). We will also be developing transportation plans that will minimize truck traffic in the communities we serve in these locations. Groundwater monitoring and reporting will continue even after the ponds are closed.
In 2018, Dominion Energy sought proposals to determine the feasibility and costs of recycling at five ash ponds at four power stations (Chesterfield, Possum Point, Chesapeake and Bremo) and other ash facilities at Chesapeake Energy Center. Dominion Energy already recycles approximately 500,000 tons of coal combustion byproducts each year. The ash is used to help make cement and wallboard.
A total of 12 proposals and over 2,100 pages of information were received and evaluated. Bids were received for proposals to recycle for each of the four power stations. Bids were considered if they encapsulated the ash, as defined by coal ash regulations. Encapsulation binds the ash into a solid, such as concrete, brick, or wallboard for safe reuse.
Chesapeake Memorandum of Agreement
Dominion Energy is committed to consistent standards of closure and protection of the environment for all of the coal ash at Chesapeake Energy Center. We have signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia where we agree to groundwater monitoring and closure steps for all of the coal ash at the Chesapeake Energy Center under the same strict standards imposed by federal and state ash rules.
That means all of the ash facilities at Chesapeake Energy Center will require ongoing groundwater monitoring, corrective action, as well as closure and post-closure care under the jurisdiction of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The strictest closure standards and groundwater protection standards will apply to the Bottom Ash Pond, the Landfill, and the Historic Pond at the site.
Recent groundwater test results for ash facilities at six power stations - Bremo’s North Pond, the Lower and Upper Ash Ponds at Chesterfield, Possum Point Pond D and the landfills at VCHEC, Clover and Yorktown can be found here.
There are no impacts to drinking water or public health.
Groundwater and surface water sampling has been and remains in place at all of the stations. Dominion Energy takes these results very seriously. Any impact or potential impact to our environment has our full attention.
As we safely and permanently close our 11 coal ash ponds at four facilities in Virginia, we are committed to keeping the waterways in our communities clean, and no ash will be released into Virginia’s waterways at any time during the process of closing Dominion Energy’s coal ash ponds.
To close the coal ash ponds, we will treat and test the water before release. All testing data will be regularly updated and available to the public on our website. The closure approach is unique for each station.