Dominion Virginia Power and the James River Association, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, announced yesterday that they reached a settlement agreement on discharges of treated water from coal ash ponds at the company’s Bremo Power Station in Fluvanna County. Those discharges are regulated by a permit issued in January by the State Water Control Board and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, requiring Dominion to build and operate a wastewater treatment system at the facility.
Under the settlement agreement, Dominion has committed to enhanced treatment of the pond water and to fish tissue monitoring, and the JRA and SELC will not appeal the wastewater permit issued for the Bremo Power Station. The terms of the agreement only apply to the wastewater permit at Bremo Power Station and do not apply to any other Dominion sites.
“We thank Dominion for engaging with us in a cooperative manner to address our concerns about the dewatering of Dominion’s coal ash ponds at the Bremo Power Station,” said Bill Street, James River Association chief executive officer. “Through our agreement today, Dominion will install enhanced treatment for the wastewater that is designed to better protect all uses of the James River.”
Dominion must submit a plan that will be reviewed by the Virginia DEQ. Dominion has also committed to enhanced testing of fish in the James River throughout the dewatering project. The results of the testing will be made publicly available by both Dominion and DEQ.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its Coal Combustion Residual Rules in the spring of 2015 calling for the closure of inactive ash ponds across the country. Dominion is closing 11 ash ponds at four power stations across the state. As part of closing the ash ponds at Bremo, Dominion must first remove water that has accumulated in the ponds.