Duke Energy announced plans to excavate coal ash from four basins at the H.F. Lee Plant in Goldsboro, N.C., and recycle the material for use in concrete products.
"This is the latest step forward in safely closing coal ash basins and represents a significant investment in the Goldsboro community, which benefits customers and the local economy," Millie Chalk, government and community relations manager for Wayne County, said in a statement.
Coal ash is a non-hazardous material created when coal is burned to produce electricity. Recycling is the only way to avoid permanent disposal of the material. However, much of the ash stored in basins has too much carbon to be used in concrete products. Duke Energy is making additional investments in technology designed to reprocess coal ash from basins to be used in various concrete products.
This is a change from previously announced plans for the site. In 2015, the company announced plans to excavate and relocate coal ash from the site to a fully lined structural fill in Lee County. The Colon Mine project remains a contingency site if final closure plans for basins across the state require it.
After evaluating a variety of locations, Duke’s experts have determined that H.F. Lee is an ideal site for a project of this nature based on a number of factors including, proximity to market demand, the volume of ash at the site, ash quality and the site's current closure deadline.
"The ash currently stored at H.F. Lee is what's left after providing safe and reliable energy to our customers for more than 60 years. This recycling project represents an exciting opportunity to repurpose this material into a valuable product," Chalk said.
The majority of the 6 million tons of ash on the property will be reprocessed for use in concrete products by the current 2028 closure deadline. Any material left after recycling operations have ended will be relocated to a safe, permanent storage solution off-site. The company does not intend to construct a landfill onsite to store remaining material.