- After much scrutiny, Virginia’s Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors approved a proposal from Dominion Virginia Power to build a coal ash landfill at its Chesterfield power station. The decision follows concessions after some citizens requested Dominion move the already-stored coal ash from unlined ponds to a lined landfill to be constructed. Dominion agreed to not import more coal ash from outside the county.
- Chris Winslow of the Clover Hill magisterial district cast the only vote against the plan, concerned of the possibility that current ash ponds could flood and contaminate the James River.
- Dominion agreed to drain water from the ash ponds, cover the ash with soil, then install an impermeable liner and a water drainage system. The ash will be covered with two more feet of soil.
The plan is a compromise for both sides after a long debate with the state of Maryland, a local environmental group, and Prince William County, all who opposed to the plan that Virginia had been ready to approve. Many will be impacted whether as a business with a bottom line or residents who want assurance they will have a safe and clean community.
The main concern of most opponents — that ash generated outside of the county would be deposited in Chesterfield — is not going to happen. And the utility has committed to and spelled out precautionary measures to mitigate risk for leachate and water contamination.
"Our employees are going to do this safely, in compliance, with the highest quality," said Josh Bennett, director of the Chesterfield power station, to the Chesterfield Observer. He said Dominion has invested $300 million to support this commitment.
Even Bob Olsen of advocacy group Hands Across the Lake, who was strongly opposed to leaving the existing coal ash in the ponds, is ready to settle on the negotiated terms.
"You’re never going to get 100% of what you want," he said to the Chesterfield Observer. "But we made a difference, and the environment will be better for it."