GLEN ALLEN, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- By October of 2018, Dominion Virginia Power plans to close several coal ash ponds at the Bremo Power Station in Fluvanna County as well as similar ponds across Virginia.
The company is working to meet the Environmental Protection Agency's new requirements for the storage of coal ash.
"That's our objective," said David Craymer, Vice President of Power Generation. "Our objective is to get these ponds closed as soon as we can within that three-year time frame. As we shared, that takes up time, that takes up process."
As a part of Dominion's move to a cleaner energy mix, several power stations have been converted to natural gas. Bremo finished converting to natural gas in 2014.
"The permit established limits that are protective of the river, and as we developed our treatment system, we determined that we will go below those limits and treat to a lower lever for our discharge before it goes into the river," said Dominion Environmental Service Manager Jason Williams.
Before coal ash ponds can be closed, the water must be treated and removed .Dominion must also install a synthetic cover and top the cover with two feet of soil and grass.
"So the essential thing to eliminate that is to remove some of that water," said Williams. "And this is the most responsible and safest way to do that, to treat it on site with our system and catered to the treatment of metals so we can make sure the river is protected."
Some protesters are not buying it.
"They weren't trying to say anything new, just trying to distract from the fact that they dumped water into the Quantico," said student protester Drew Shannon.
Dominion says no coal ash will be dumped into any Virginia waterways and the water discharge will be submitted to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
The company estimates it will cost half a billion dollars to shut down all 11 Virginia ponds.
In response to Dominion Virginia Power, Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network released the following statement:
“From everything we know, Dominion Power’s plan to go forward with the dumping of toxic coal ash waste water into the James and Potomac Rivers still fails to adequately protect the health of our rivers and local citizens. Instead of holding Dominion to the highest standards, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, led by David Paylor, issued lax permits that fail to require the use of ‘best available technology’ and allow Dominion to discharge toxins like arsenic at levels that exceed limits set by neighboring North Carolina. Dominion is now clearly trying to save face in response to deep public concern and calls for a federal investigation of its secretive dumping of coal ash wastewater into Quantico Creek in May of 2015."
To read the full statement, please click on the link alongside this story.