Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Discharge to Begin in Potomac River Ash Ponds

Coal ash water treatment process ‘unprecedented’
The first discharge of treated water from Possum Point will occur Monday. Dominion Environmental Manager Jason Williams said this is the most “unprecedented” water treatment system he’s seen in his 15 years working in the environmental clean up business.

The work to treat the water has already begun, following approval from Virginia’s Water Control Board in January. It will continue through every day, 24 hours a day until April 2018. Two crews with 16 to 20 people will work to complete the work in shifts.

The water treatment system constructed on the hilltop is a massive network of tanks, pipes, pools, filters, and large bagged containers called Geotubes. The multi-step process is continually monitored each hour to make sure the water that’s being scrubbed of particulates not only meets state standards but exceeds them, as Dominion has promised to do.
Two third-party companies will be responsible for testing the water before it flows into Quantico Creek. The results of each week’s testing are to be posted to Dominion’s website each Friday. This state requirement is also “unprecedented,” said Williams.

New federal rules for the closure and capping of coal ash ponds across the U.S. enacted in 2014 prompted Dominion to move quickly on this project. Coal ash from five ponds at Possum Point will be moved into one clay-lined pond, Pond D. All water will be drained from Pond D and a cap will be placed over the remaining coal ash. The closure process is similar to closing a landfill.

A series of wells have been bored into the sludge in the final pond, known as Pond D. Once the pond’s surface water has been drained, these wells will help bring more water to the surface that had been trapped into the coal ash.

About 200,000 cubic yards of coal ash remain at Possum Point. The amount of water in need of treatment would fill 360 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Dominion will be responsible for monitoring the area around the closed coal ash pond for up to 30 years after the work is completed. Williams says the four other areas around Possum Point that once contained coal ash ponds will be restored to their original grade, natural vegetation replanted, and then monitored, but not quite for 30 years.

All of the work to treat and release the water is being conducted on privately-owned Dominion property. There was an increased police presence around the power station on Tuesday. A Dominion official said they were there because there had been unwanted “visitors” to the site in recent days.
This looks good to me. Time to git 'er done.

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