Arsenic and Old Waste: Duke agrees to cleanup after pollution exposed

A coal ash cleanup similar to what Duke Energy will be undertaking at its Robinson facility is underway near Conway, South Carolina. (© Hollis Bennett)

Following the recent disclosure by SELC and Coastal Conservation League of ongoing contamination at Duke Energy's Robinson plant, the company announced today that it will move its polluting ash from unlined pits to dry, lined storage away from the lake. Investigations by SELC identified arsenic and low-level radioactive materials in the coal ash that was housed next to Lake Robinson in Darlington County, South Carolina.

Until recently, Duke reported only 660,000 tons of coal ash stored at Robinson and disclosed no problems with the site. Research done by SELC revealed that arsenic levels in groundwater near Robinson were more than 100 times the legal limit and that coal ash reaches 18 feet into area groundwater. Documentation unearthed by SELC also showed the amount of coal ash on site was closer to 4.2 million tons, more than six times the previously reported amount.

With this announcement, South Carolina is the first state in the Southeast where the utilities have cleaned up, are cleaning up, or have committed to clean up every unlined waterfront coal ash storage site in the state.

More details about the contamination at Robinson and SELC's history of seeking coal ash cleanup to protect our communities and water are available in our press release.

Media coverage of Duke's announcement today is available here.

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