Conway Cleanup Projects Make Progress
In a report provided to conservation groups pursuant to their settlement agreement with Santee Cooper, the utility reported that during 2014 it removed 164,000 tons of coal ash from its unlined lagoons at its Grainger facility on the Waccamaw River in Conway, South Carolina.
At its rate of coal ash removal during the last six months of 2014, Santee Cooper will finish removing the ash from the lagoons in 2019, four years ahead of schedule.
The Southern Environmental Law Center brought actions against Santee Cooper seeking removal of the coal ash on behalf of the Waccamaw Riverkeeper, the S.C. Coastal Conservation League, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
That litigation was resolved in November of 2013 through a binding settlement agreement that requires removal of the coal ash from the Grainger lagoons by the end of 2023.
Santee Cooper has submitted a closure plan to DHEC containing the requirements of the settlement agreement and which will return the Grainger lagoons to restored wetlands along the Waccamaw River.
“Santee Cooper’s progress shows that coal ash can be removed from dangerous unlined, riverside lagoons and properly recycled or stored dry in lined landfills away from waterways,” said Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who represented the conservation groups in the litigation. “Other utilities, including Duke Energy in South and North Carolina, should follow Santee Cooper’s lead.”
“The removal of this coal ash will benefit Conway’s reputation as a ecotourism center and protect the Waccamaw River at the same time,” said Paula Reidhaar, the Waccamaw Riverkeeper.