DEQ is seeking public feedback on a proposed draft special order by consent for Duke Energy’s Belews Creek Steam Station, as well as a draft wastewater permit modification for the Stokes County facility. The public comment period will run through Jan. 25, 2019.
The draft order, draft modified permit and related documents are available online at: https://bit.ly/2LkIF4K.
Talking points from Southern Environmental Law Center:
The draft Belews Creek NPDES Permit fails to adequately protect the surrounding lake and rivers.
Despite the history of pollution at this plant, the permit’s limits on toxic water pollution are in many cases weaker than in previous drafts.
The permit does not require a “physical/chemical treatment system” for ash pond dewatering, unlike the systems already being used at Duke’s Riverbend and Sutton plants.
The permit delays compliance with stricter federal pollution limits, which should be imposed later this year but the draft permit delays until late 2020.
The permit fails to minimize the harm to fish and aquatic life in Belews Lake as a result of its outdated water intake structure and its discharge of superheated wastewater.
The permit should be improved to fully limit pollution from the Belews Creek facility, as required by the Clean Water Act.
The SOC acknowledges that Duke’s discharge into Little Belews Creek violates the Clean Water Act, but would allow the discharge to continue until Duke builds a new pipeline to discharge directly into the Dan River.
The proposed SOC admits that the plant has been polluting Little Belews Creek for over three decades.
Despite this fact, the SOC concludes that neither DEQ nor Duke has done anything wrong.
DEQ should rectify over 30 years of unlawful pollution of Little Belews Creek by stopping it, not allowing it to continue.