As Dominion Virginia Power seeks approval of its DEQ permit to “cap in place” the coal ash ponds at its Possum Point facility in Dumfries, Virginia, Supervisor Frank Principi and other Prince William County legislators are demanding that DEQ conduct an analysis of alternative methods that could lessen the potential environmental impact. “We need this alternatives analysis, so we have the foundation of a good policy decision,” said Principi, who spoke at the Feb. 16 public hearing on the draft permit. Below are the Supervisor’s talking points from the hearing:
Before DEQ approves the draft permit, Dominion should be required to perform the following items…
- Release test results from the existing groundwater monitoring wells to determine whether Pond D has ever caused groundwater contamination. This information will help assure all of us of the integrity of the clay bottom in Pond D and that our groundwater is safe today.
- Release test results from the surface water sampling plan to determine whether, and to what extent, surface water has been contaminated. These details were not included in the draft permit and should have already been started by now.
- Conduct an “alternatives analysis” to determine whether clean closure and complete removal OR the recycling/reuse of the coal ash are safer alternatives to the proposed cap in place approach. The analysis should answer such questions as “What are the short and long-term impacts of each alternative on the environment?” “What are the short and long-term risks of each alternative?” “What are the financial costs and benefits of each alternative?”
- Provide documentation of the steps being taken to ensure that all possible steps have been taken to prevent a catastrophic event from occurring at Pond D. Eastern Prince William is known for our poor soils and slope failures and we are also known for our super storms and hurricanes. It is not publicly known whether there are any structures below Pond D that could potentially fail.
- Expand its financial assurance requirements to include the costs associated with a catastrophic failure of Pond D and include the cost of clean-up and removal of all coal ash on-site and reimbursement of damages to the county, residents, and businesses that would be impacted by a possible failure.
- Submit the information requested to DEQ and make it subject to public review and comment BEFORE the draft permit is approved.
DEQ is accepting public comment through March 10, 2017. See submission options.