Dominion doubles down on leaking coal ash storage at Possum Point Power Station

A coal ash pond being excavated at the Possum Point Power Station near the Potomac River in Dumfries, VA. (© Washington Post, Kate Patterson)

Two national news outlets (Washington Post and Associated Press) recently investigated the handling of coal ash at Dominion’s Possum Point Power Station in Dumfries, VA, where approximately 3.7 million cubic yards of the toxic waste is being stored in leaking pits near the Potomac River.

Potomac River Keeper Network and SELC recently discovered that Dominion has begun to consolidate coal ash into a pond that has been leaking heavy metals, such as cadmium, for decades. Dominion plans to excavate and transfer over 1 million cubic yards of coal ash into one leaking pond in an attempt to close all ponds at Possum Point before more stringent federal coal ash regulations take effect this fall. The company is moving forward without any public notice and without an approved long-term closure plan from the state environmental agency.

Last April, Dominion announced it was planning to close the coal ash ponds at Possum Point and three other power plants in Virginia by simply covering up the problem, without addressing the leak of contaminants out of the bottom and sides of the ponds.

“What the company will establish, if they do that, is a permanent pollution problem at this site,” said Gregory Buppert, a senior attorney.

Virginia Delegate Scott Surovell and Senator Linda “Toddy” Puller have written to the state’s secretary of natural resources, Molly Ward, to express their concerns about the risks to citizens caused by the coal ash contamination at Possum Point. Del. Surovell has called for relocation of this toxic waste to dry lined landfill storage away from rivers and drinking water sources. You can read the full content of their letter below.


Additional Resources:

Read the Washington Post story: “In Northern Va., environmentalists concerned about disposal of coal ash”

Read the Associated Press story: “Critics: Dominion Virginia jumping gun on coal ash cleanup"

Read the Virginia Delegates' letter to the state Secretary of Natural Resources.

Learn more about SELC’s work to stop coal ash pollution at Dominion’s Possum Point power station:

April 23, 2015, “Dominion’s solution for leaking coal ash: Just put a lid on it”

March 6, 2015, “SELC pursuing clean up of coal ash ponds at two Dominion Virginia Power plants”

September 17, 2014, “Conservation Groups Uncover Decades of Coal Ash Pollution Leaking Into Potomac River from Dominion’s Possum Point Power Plant”

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