Belmont Neighbors Can Weigh-In on Coal Ash Removal Options on Tuesday

BELMONT, N.C. – Neighbors upset about 19 million tons of coal ash stored near their homes will have a chance to speak out Tuesday.

State regulators want input before deciding if Duke Energy can cap coal ash in place at the Allen Steam Station near Belmont or if they have to remove it.

“These sites are on the banks of our drinking water reservoirs, and so capping them in place is not a good option,” says Catawba Riverkeeper Brandon Jones.

Later this year, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality will decide what should happen to all the coal ash.

For years, neighbors living near coal ash in Belmont drank bottled water provided by Duke Energy.

The company has long maintained it’s safe to store coal ash there, despite concerns about possible toxic material seeping into groundwater.

Coal ash would also be expensive to remove. Estimates show capping in place would cost around $185 Million over nine years, while excavating would cost more than $1.2 Billion and would take nearly 20 years.

Another possibility is a hybrid option to cap some ash and excavate what’s closest to nearby homes.

Tuesday’s meeting starts at 6:00 p.m. at Stuart Cramer High School in Belmont.