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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
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 Dam Safety 

  • The N.C. General Assembly amended the North Carolina Dam Safety Law in 2009 to include jurisdiction over impoundments at the coal-fired power plants, including coal ash ponds. This means that existing coal ash impoundments that are at least 15 feet high and capable of impounding at least 10 acre-feet must be inspected by the N.C. Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources’ dam safety inspectors and maintained in good repair.
  • Before starting new construction, modification, repair or removal of these impoundments, the individual or company seeking a permit is required to receive state approval of engineering plans and specifications under the North Carolina Dam Safety Law.
  • The N.C. Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources has conducted initial inspections of all existing coal ash waste impoundments in North Carolina and determined that Duke Energy and Progress Energy together had 23 active and 11 inactive ash pond impoundments as of August 2010. The state inspectors also determined there are no problems threatening the immediate safety of the impoundments. Deficiencies requiring corrective actions were found at four active coal ash ponds and one inactive ash pond. For more information, please call (919) 707-9220.
  • Another DENR agency, the N.C. Division of Waste Management, regulates coal ash as a solid waste. Generators of coal ash are required by state law to obtain a permit from the N.C. Division of Waste Management before operating a landfill to dispose of dry coal ash. Generators of coal ash are also required to notify the division if they intend to reuse dry coal ash as a structural fill, a term used to describe a building pad, parking lot or a foundation for a structure.
  • For more information, contact planning and programs branch head with the N.C. Division of Waste Management, at (919) 707-8245.
  • Dam safety information and reports for each individual coal ash facility, including notices of inspection and violation can be found on the Facilities webpage.   
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