Dominion Energy is changing the way it handles flyash, a byproduct of burning coal. The power company, as of Monday began exercising its Virginia Department of Environmental Quality permit to depose of flyash.
The plan calls for the dewatering of the ash that is currently in the ponds on the site, and any new fly ash will be will be buried in a lined landfill on the Dominion property. The dry ash will behauled across a 1,400 foot bridge that Dominion built just for the purpose of hauling to the landfill. The path to the beginning of the cleanup and the new disposal technique took about 18 months for the State Water Control Board’s decision to approve the DEQ’s permit of Dominion’s plan of cleaning up the fly ash ponds at the Chesterfield plant that has been in existence since 1945.
“It has been a long complicated process converting from a wet to a dry process,” said Bermuda District and Chairman of the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors, Dorothy Jaeckle. “It took years of permitting and testing to meet all the requirements including building a bridge. I believe the cost was somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 million dollars. Despite its cost, the new system will be better for all of us.”
The dewatering process is expected to take approximately 18 months. Robert Richardson, Community Relations Manager with Dominion Energy expects to begin treating, filtering, testing and releasing water from its current ash ponds at Chesterfield Power Station on Nov.13, 2017. The dewatering process is expected to take approximately 18 months. The total amount of water that will be drained from the ponds at Chesterfield is the equivalent of about 300 Olympic size swimming pools, not including any additional storm water collected in the ponds between now and closure.
The dewatering process is fully permitted and the process was approved by the State Water Control Board in September 2016. Once the water is removed from the ponds the remaining fly ash will remain and will be covered with thick vinyl and clay being capped in place.
Documentation from Dominion indicates the new system uses a complex process that incorporates state-of-the-art science and engineering to ensure that the water is fully treated and tested before it ever touches the river. The water will be protective of human health and the environment.
“We will have more than 40 groundwater monitoring wells on our property at Chesterfield Power Station,” said Richardson. We want our neighbors to know the results of the tests. They – and everyone else – can see exactly what we’re doing and what our tests show by visiting our website: www.dominionenergy.com/coalash.