Charlotte considers land for coal ash burial

AP image

Charlotte is considering a plan to allow Duke Energy to bury coal ash on some land that would not involve Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Duke had originally suggested burying the nearly 5 million tons of coal ash under a planned new runway at the airport, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Airport officials say it’s too risky to put a runway on top of the material.

The coal ash is currently stored in unlined pits next to the city’s main reservoir, Mountain Island Lake. The ash, which contains toxic heavy metals, is a byproduct of burning coal to generate electricity at Duke’s retired Riverbend Steam Station.

The new proposal calls for Charlotte to give Duke 128 acres of woods near Interstate 485 to bury the ash. Duke would give the airport 42 acres where the company has an operations center with 250 employees.

Duke is considering the idea.

“The operations center in question is extremely important to us,” said Tim Gause, Duke’s director of government relations. “It’s a very complex decision we’ll be making. We need a little more time.”

Assistant City Manager Hyong Yi said if Duke rejects the plan, the original Duke proposal of moving coal ash to airport property is finished.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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