Coal ash management progress: Riverbend coal ash excavation is under way to fully lined landfill

Share This Story

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The first truck of excavated coal ash left the retired Riverbend power plant near Charlotte today, marking the beginning of the end for ash storage at that site as Duke Energy relocates ash to a fully lined landfill.

"We share our customers' urgency for closing ash basins, and we're glad to get this important work under way. We started moving ash just a few days after receiving the necessary permits," said John Elnitsky, Duke Energy's senior vice president for ash strategy. "We're managing this project in a way that meets the highest standards for safety."

Riverbend excavation will start with 10 truckloads a day to pilot the process and minimize impacts on neighbors. Ash will be sent to a fully lined landfill in Homer, Ga., and will be transported moist, in covered and washed trucks, to control dust.

This landfill is an interim step as the company works with an outside company to permit two fully lined structural fill projects proposed for North Carolina's Chatham and Lee counties.

The Riverbend work initiates the first phase of excavation that the company announced in November 2014.

The project will remove about 1 million tons of ash from the ash stack, a dry storage area on the property. Additional permitting and preparations are needed before water can be removed from the primary or secondary ash basins.

The Riverbend site has about 4.5 million tons of ash.

The Riverbend plant, located in Mount Holly, N.C., began serving customers in 1929 and was retired in 2013.

It was one of four plants identified in the North Carolina Coal Ash Management Act of 2014 to be excavated by August 2019, with material relocated to a fully lined facility.

Riverbend is the second site in the Carolinas to begin ash relocation in recent weeks, following closely on the work begun May 14 at the W.S. Lee plant in South Carolina.

The company continues to move ash from the Asheville Plant to a nearby fully lined structural fill project at the Asheville Regional Airport, which has been ongoing for several years.

In addition to ash excavation, decommissioning of the retired coal plant at the Riverbend site continues. Next decommissioning steps include removing remaining soil under the former coal pile, and demolishing buildings and equipment no longer needed.

Photos of ash excavation –

Video footage to be posted shortly on Duke Energy's YouTube channel –

More information on Duke Energy's coal ash management can be found at

About Duke Energy

Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with approximately $121 billion in total assets. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.3 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international energy business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at