State environmental officials have issued a permit that will allow Duke Energy to start disposing of coal ash at a new lined landfill proposed for the utility’s Sutton Steam Station in Wilmington.

The permit, issued on July 6, 2017, allows Duke Energy to move forward with its plans to construct and operate a lined industrial landfill to store coal ash now contained in two unlined basins on the same property.

“The safety and well-being of people living near these coal ash ponds is a top priority,” said Michael S. Regan, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. “This permit requires that the landfill be constructed and operated with the current safeguards you would find for other landfills in North Carolina.” 

The state environmental agency conducted an environmental justice analysis to examine the potential impacts the coal ash landfill could have on people living within a mile of the project. The analysis determined that no one was living within a one mile radius of the proposed landfill.