The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing tonight on a plan by Dominion Virginia Power to dump treated coal ash wastewater into the James River at its Chesterfield power station.
The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. at Thomas Dale High School, West Campus, 3900 West Hundred Road in Chester.
Dominion plans to dewater polluted liquids from 13.4 million cubic yards of coal ash at two ponds near the James at Dutch Gap about 15 miles south of downtown Richmond. The water will be treated and then pumped into the James River for about a year until the ponds are dried.
Dominion plans on sealing the tops of the ponds and leaving them there permanently while monitoring ground and surface water for high levels of dangerous pollutants such as arsenic and hexavalent chromium.
Dominion has come under fire in federal court for alleged pollution at its Chesapeake Energy Center. The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club has sued in federal court claiming that arsenic has leached into the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.
The Sierra Club is pushing for Dominion to remove both water and coal ash from its ponds and transporting them to inland landfills that are fully lined. Dominion says doing so will be too expensive.
A decision in the case is expected soon. It could affect Dominion's plans to dewater and seal coal ash ponds at four power stations.
Utilities in North and South Carolina have opted to remove coal ash at several ponds to fully lined landfills.