Dominion Virginia Power and the James River Association reached a settlement on discharging treated water from coal ash ponds at the company’s Bremo Power Station in Fluvanna County, VA.
The discharges end up regulated by a permit issued in January by the State Water Control Board and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, requiring Dominion to build and operate a wastewater treatment system at the facility.
Under the settlement agreement, Dominion committed to enhanced treatment of the pond water and to fish tissue monitoring, and the James River Association and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) will not appeal the wastewater permit issued for the Bremo Power Station. The terms of this agreement only apply to the wastewater permit at Bremo Power Station and do not apply to any other Dominion sites.
“We thank Dominion for engaging with us in a cooperative manner to address our concerns about the dewatering of Dominion’s coal ash ponds at the Bremo Power Station,” said Bill Street, James River Association chief executive. “Through our agreement today, Dominion will install enhanced treatment for the wastewater that is designed to better protect all uses of the James River.”
Dominion must submit a plan for review by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Dominion has also committed to enhanced testing of fish in the James River throughout the dewatering project. The results of the testing will be made publicly available by Dominion and DEQ.
“Dominion will always be committed to keeping the James River safe for fishing, boating, swimming and all the activities we Virginians love to do. We are pleased that this agreement with the James River Association allows us to move ahead with this important environmental project,” said Pam Faggert, chief environmental officer for Dominion. “The James River Association has helped us create a plan that reflects the commitment of both of our organizations to maintain the quality of the James River.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its Coal Combustion Residual Rules in the spring of 2015 calling for the closure of inactive ash ponds across the country. Dominion is closing 11 ash ponds at four power stations across the state. As part of closing the ash ponds at Bremo, Dominion must first remove water that has accumulated in the ponds.