One day after Duke Energy Corp. (DUK) activated a high-level emergency alert at a retired coal-fired power plant because of rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence possibly breaching a dam nearby, the company said the dam has, in fact, been breached and coal ash could be flowing into nearby Cape Fear River.
Duke Energy has shut down the 625-megawatt natural gas plant at the site.
North Carolina's Department of Energy Mineral and Land Resources didn't return a request for comment on the situation.
Floodwaters overtook an earthen dike on the north side of Sutton Lake, which is a 1,100-acre reservoir at the L.V. Sutton Power Station. Floodwaters also breached a steel retaining wall that contains one of three large coal ash dumps that are on the banks of the lakeshore.
The current situation is different from another rupture at a nearby coal ash landfill reported at the site last weekend. That breach spilled enough coal ash to fill 180 dump trucks.
At the current breach site, the company said that personnel are supplementing on-site supplies with large stone and other materials.
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