State Moves To Fine Duke Over Coal Ash Pollution At Wilmington Plant

North Carolina environmental officials are moving to fine Duke Energy over groundwater pollution leeching for years from a pair of coal ash dumps at a retired power plant outside Wilmington.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued a notice of violation to Duke on Tuesday over the ongoing contamination at the L.V. Sutton Electric Plant in New Hanover County. The site includes a pair of unlined ash dumps estimated to hold 2.6 million tons of ash.

A letter sent to Duke says monitoring wells near dumps showed readings exceeding state groundwater standards for boron, thallium, selenium, iron, manganese and other chemicals. Thallium is a highly toxic poison.

The notice is the first regulatory step toward issuing the utility a fine for violating of the state's groundwater contamination laws.

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