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Dominion Energy is acting to permanently close its ponds used to store coal ash, a by-product of burning coal. In Virginia these ponds are at Possum Point Power Station in Dumfries, Chesterfield Power Station near Richmond, and Bremo Power Station in Fluvanna County as well as the Chesapeake Energy Center in Chesapeake. In South Carolina, ponds are located at Wateree Power Station and Williams Power Station.

The company stores ash in landfills in Virginia at Yorktown Power Station, Chesterfield Power Station, Clover Power Station, and the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center.

The company also stores ash in landfills in West Virginia at Mt. Storm Power Station and in South Carolina at Cope Power Station, Wateree Power Station and Williams Power Station.

FAQs

Coal ash is a byproduct of producing electricity in coal-fired boilers. Dominion Energy recycles about 500,000 tons of coal combustion byproducts per year for use in products like concrete and cement. Some ash is stored in on-site ponds, where ash settles to the bottom, and some ash is stored in landfills. Ongoing monitoring and inspections ensure the ash is maintained safely at each station.

In 2015, the EPA set new requirements for coal ash storage sites. The state of Virginia also has its own requirements for these sites. Where we have active ash landfills and ponds at our stations, they are meeting the requirements set by state and federal agencies and by Virginia legislation.

In 2018, we started the process of closing ash ponds. Some of our ponds have been closed, while others are still in the process of being closed.

See details about our plans

The first step in the closure process is to remove water from the ponds. Water discharge permits that have been approved by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for each facility are designed to protect waterways, fish, birds, and other animals.

Water is treated through site-specific treatment processes before release. We also monitor groundwater after the ponds are closed.

Other permits will be needed from the federal and state agencies, and local jurisdictions regarding:

  • Land disturbance
  • Environmental controls
  • Groundwater protection
  • Other associated parts of the project

As part of our commitment to cleaner, less carbon-intensive energy sources, we have closed several coal power plants or converted them to natural gas. Federal regulations, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality regulations and Virginia legislation require Dominion Energy to close ponds in accordance with the regulations.

Dominion Energy will excavate and remove ash to close its coal ash ponds at Chesapeake Energy Center, Bremo, Chesterfield and Possum Point Power Stations in accordance with the requirements of bipartisan legislation passed during the 2019 Virginia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Northam.

The Virginia legislation prescribes a closure strategy whereby at least a quarter of the total cubic yardage of coal ash across the four Virginia stations (6.8 million cubic yards) must be recycled. Any coal ash which is not recycled must be deposited at either an on-site or off-site location in a lined landfill that meets certain federal standards.

The remainder of Dominion Energy’s coal ash ponds will be closed in accordance with the Federal CCR regulation and direction from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Before the coal ash ponds can be closed the water stored in the ponds must be removed and treated. This process is called “dewatering.” The ash must be dewatered in order to excavate, remove and transport the ash for beneficial use or disposal. Dominion Energy is responsible for ensuring the treated water meets all permit limits prior to discharge.

Former coal units at Possum Point have been converted to use cleaner, natural gas. Possum Point has one unit that runs on oil. The coal units at Chesapeake Energy Center were shut down in December, 2014. Chesterfield, Mount Storm, and Wateree still operate using coal. Cope still operates using coal or gas and Williams still operates using coal or oil.

We have coal ash landfills at six power stations in Virginia and West Virginia. We also have coal ash landfills at three power stations in South Carolina. Environmental Coordinators conduct extensive groundwater monitoring at these facilities and those tests meet federal and state rules.

The Virginia General Assembly passed Senate Bill 807 in 2018. The legislation required Dominion Energy to seek proposals to determine the feasibility and costs of recycling ash from the ponds at certain facilities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The results of that analysis were provided to stakeholders and the General Assembly in November 2018.

In 2019, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation calling for the removal of ash from existing ponds at certain Dominion Energy facilities to lined landfills and for a portion of the ash to be recycled. Dominion Energy supported this legislation. Its provisions also require Dominion Energy to offer a connection to a municipal water supply to any residence within one-half mile of a CCR unit at certain facilities. If a municipal water supply connection is not feasible, Dominion must offer to provide water testing.

As required by legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2020, Dominion Energy submitted a complete survey to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality identifying drinking water supply wells within 1.5 miles of our coal ash ponds that still contain ash at certain facilities. Additionally, by July 1, 2021, Dominion Energy must conduct a well water test on behalf of the owner of each well.

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