Dominion Energy said in a long-awaited report on Wednesday that it would cost billions of dollars to recycle Virginia’s toxic coal ash or move it to lined landfills, an endeavor that customers would pay for over several years.Hexavalent chromium does not accumulate in fish (it's too reactive), arsenic is converted to a non-toxic organic compound, and lead is simply not a serious problem in coal ash.
Environmental groups and some lawmakers said the cost would be well worth the effort as some aging storage facilities leak chemicals or potentially lay vulnerable to hurricanes.
“This report shows that we can solve this problem forever and create some jobs while we’re at it,” said Democratic state Sen. Scott Surovell, whose northern Virginia district includes a coal ash site near the Potomac River.
“Most people I know don’t want to have hexavalent chromium, arsenic and lead in their rockfish,” Surovell said.
Coal ash is heavy metal-laden waste leftover from burning the fossil fuel to produce electricity. States such as Virginia have been sorting out what to do with the material, which has traditionally been stored in ponds or unlined landfills.These people don't really want to help the environment. They simply want to hurt the energy industry. At this point, the ash is best left where it is. Any attempt to move it will risk more release than simply keeping it confined as best possible.
Virginia lawmakers so far have put on hold Dominion’s plans to close its largest coal ash ponds by leaving them in place and putting a cover over them.
The General Assembly also mandated the report that Dominion released Wednesday. It focuses on the viability of recycling coal ash as well as hauling it away and other solutions. Coal ash can be useful for projects that involve anything from concrete to wallboard.
Dominion’s report said that one company could take on all of the work for as little as $2.8 billion. Costs would grow to as much as $5.6 billion if multiple companies are hired.
The cost of Dominion’s original plan, which includes leaving the facilities in place, could be as much as $1.9 billion, Dominion officials said previously.