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Dominion Energy is one of the nation’s leaders in 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.

Coal ash is a byproduct of producing electricity at coal-fired power stations. 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. Ongoing monitoring and inspections ensure the ash is maintained safely at each station.

In spring 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 landfills at our stations, they are meeting or going beyond the requirements set by state and federal agencies. In April, 2015, Dominion Energy announced the closing of all our coal ash ponds in Virginia.

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 necessary permits are obtained, the ponds are expected to be permanently closed by the end of 2019. Groundwater monitoring and reporting will continue even after the ponds are closed.

See details about our plans

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

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

Other permits will be needed from the DEQ, local jurisdictions, and other federal and state agencies 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. New EPA and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality regulations require Dominion Energy—and all energy providers—to close coal ash ponds at these sites.

Dominion Energy will close its coal ash ponds by removal at Chesapeake Energy Center and 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 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.

The Virginia legislation prescribes a closure strategy whereby at least a quarter of the total cubic yardage of coal ash across the four 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.

Specific plans for each station are currently under development.

See details about the power plants involved and site specific plans

Before ash ponds can be closed, the water must be removed to dry the ash enough for grading and construction of the closure cover system. This process is called “dewatering.”

We're working with several firms that specialize in on-site wastewater treatment. We will remove the water and treat and test it on-site using a multistage process to meet or exceed stringent, government-mandated levels before release.

Former coal units at Possum Point and Bremo 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 last December. 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. Environmental Coordinators conduct extensive groundwater monitoring at these facilities and those tests meet or exceed federal and state rules. We also have coal ash landfills at three power stations in South Carolina.

Senate Bill 807 is a bill passed by the Virginia General Assembly in March of 2018. Dominion Energy sought proposals to determine the feasibility and costs of recycling from the ponds that will not begin closure in 2018 and the facilities at Chesapeake Energy Center. The results of that analysis were provided to stakeholders and the General Assembly in November 2018.

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