Duke Pleads Guilty for Violating Federal Clean Water Act

Duke Pleads Guilty for Violating Federal Clean Water Act

Duke Energy has agreed to pay $102 million in the form penalty and compensation for causing illegal pollution leaking from its coal-ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants for past many years.

In federal court, it has pleaded guilty for environmental crimes. The company has also pleaded guilty for nine misdemeanor counts. As per prosecutor, the nation’s biggest electricity company was involved in unlawful dumping at its plants in Eden, Moncure, Asheville, Goldsboro and Mt. Holly.

Last February, the investigation into the matter started after a pipe collapsed under a coal ash dump at the Eden plant leaving a major part of the Dan River full of sludge. The prosecutors said that the Duke’s illegal dumping has been back for at least 2010.

Duke affirmed that the costs of the settlement will not be passed on to its electricity customers and will be borne by shareholders. At last, environmental groups achieved success after putting in years of efforts to let legal authorities to hold the company liable for the pollution leaking from 32 coal ash dumps at 14 power plants present across the state.

In 2013, the environmental group tried three times to sue the company under the Clean Water Act, so that Duke should take responsibility and clean the leaky ash dumps. But when North Carolina regulators were not able to act on provided evidence by conservationists then environmentalists were left with no other option, but to use Duke.

In the state-mandated tests, more than 150 residential wells near Duke’s dumps were found to be not meeting the state groundwater standards. In fact, some samples showed serious levels of toxic heavy metals.

After denying the wrongdoings for years, recently the company said that it had identified around 200 leaks and seeps at its 32 coal ash dumps across the state.

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