Coal Ash Law Blog

March 3rd, 2014

N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have issued notices of violation for coal ash recently spilled into the Dan River. There are two separate notices: one under the Stormwater regulations and one under the wastewater regulations.  Both of these notices are based upon violations of the NPDES permitting system.

The stormwater notice of violation has a 30 day response time and associated fees for submitting an application for a pollution permit.  This is the beginning of the process by which the State will pursue recourse for the spill of coal ash slurry into the Dan River.

The second notice has a 15 day response time. This notice addresses the coal ash from two storm pipes and whether the pipes were permitted for discharge into the waters of North Carolina.  This notice describes the February 2, 2014 event as discharging upwards of 27 million gallons of wastewater into the Dan River.  The pond owner has 15 days to respond. The agency, known as DENR, is continuing its’ investigation and will consider civil penalties. Although there is an existing NPDES permit for the facility, these discharges are deemed a violation of the terms of the permit.

By pursuing both avenues, DENR has cleverly covered the bases.  The pipes at issue are huge stormwater pipes.  The water and coal ash dumped into the Dan River was both stormwater and coal ash slurry wastewater.  The pond owner at this juncture must now decide how to respond to both the stormwater and the coal ash wastewater issues.  How do you think these two problems will be resolved?

To read the DENR press statement on these Notices, click here.