The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is having an open house style Information Session to answer questions and discuss with the public the closure of coal ash ponds at the Dominion Power Possum Point Power Station. The information session will be held at the Potomac Senior High School, 3401 Panther Pride Drive, Dumfries, VA 22026 on January 26, 2017 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. DEQ staff will be available to answer questions during the meeting.
If you recall, Dominion Power has been moving forward with a plan to “close in place” 3.7 million cubic yards of coal ash under the finalized U.S. EPA Coal Ash regulation. The plan for Possum Point is to consolidate all of the on-site coal ash into one impoundment. There is estimated to be 3.7 million cubic yards of coal ash. Dominion has collected the more than 1 million cubic yards of ash from four smaller ponds, put them in a 120-acre pond that already contains 2.6 million cubic yards of coal ash that they have begun to dewater.
Ultimately, the pond will be capped with an impermeable membrane to prevent future infiltration of rain. The groundwater results do not necessarily indicate contamination from the coal ash ponds, but Dominion Power announced in December of last year that they will pay for the homes near the Possum Point Power Plant to be hooked up to the Prince William County Public Service Authority water or receive filtration systems. Though Dominion Power maintains that there is no evidence that its ash ponds have contaminated drinking water wells near the site, ground water monitoring results seem inconsistent with what they assumed about the geology and groundwater.
Dominion Power has continued to press forward obtain their permit to close the site and now DEQ has proposed issuing the closure permit to them. DEQ says that the permit was prepared in accordance with the with state and federal regulations. The proposed closure includes closure in place of Surface Impoundment Pond D with installation of a final cover system or cap and closure by removal of Surface Impoundment Ponds A, B, C and E. This proposed permit also includes post-closure care requirements to maintain the cap, groundwater monitoring and surface water monitoring at the facility.
As required under the regulations, DEQ is now seeking comments and announce a public hearing on the draft permit. The public comment period is January 13, 2017 to March 10, 2017. Comments can be submitted by e-mail should be sent to DEQ. The permit can be reviewed on line.
The Public Hearing for the Permit will be on February 16, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at Potomac Senior High School, 3401 Panther Pride Drive, Dumfries, VA.