The following is an important update from George Hamrick, senior vice president of coal combustion products at Duke Energy, on Sept. 22, 2017.
Duke Energy has determined that it is appropriate to post additional information related to emergency action plans (EAPs) for coal ash facilities, specifically inundation maps and emergency responder contact information. These maps help depict the area that could be impacted in the unlikely event water and material were released from an ash basin.
Public safety and safe operations are our highest priorities. Ash basins continue to operate safely and are highly regulated. Removing water and permanently closing basins, work that is already planned or underway, adds an additional margin of safety. Engineers conduct weekly inspections, and state regulators oversee that process and can conduct their own inspections. We continue to perform any necessary maintenance until basins are safely closed.
It’s also important to note that our company has a long history of collaboration with emergency response organizations around our facilities. We provide full versions of these plans to local emergency agencies and also meet annually with them to review our plans so they can be ready to respond if ever needed.
When the company updated the EAPs in 2014, prior to the federal CCR rule, we relied on the historical interpretation of state law designed to safeguard information about critical infrastructure. After revisiting the issue and reviewing how other utilities have managed the expectations of the CCR rule, we agree it is appropriate to post additional information and make it available to the public.