Sutton Steam Plant 1984 Pond

From Global Energy Monitor

Sutton Steam Plant 1984 Pond is a coal ash disposal site associated with Sutton Steam Plant, owned and operated by Progress Energy near Wilmington, North Carolina.

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Site data

Information below derived from EPA's Coal Ash Survey database;[1] GPS coordinates courtesy of Earthjustice researchers.

  • Owner: Progress Energy Carolinas
  • Parent company: Progress Energy
  • Associated coal plant: Sutton Steam Plant
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
  • GPS coordinates: 34.2840, -77.9850
  • Hazard potential: Low
  • Year commissioned: 1984
  • Year(s) expanded:
  • Material(s) stored: Fly ash, Bottom ash, Boiler slag
  • Professional Engineer (PE) designed?: Yes
  • PE constructed?: Yes
  • PE monitored?: No
  • Significant deficiencies identified: None
  • Corrective measures: None
  • Surface area (acres): Confidential
  • Storage capacity (acre feet): Confidential
  • Unit Height (feet): Confidential
  • Historical releases: None
  • Additional notes:

Associated coal waste site


On January 8, 2013, conservation groups Cape Fear River Watch, Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance, and Western North Carolina Alliance filed a lawsuit against the state Environmental Management Commission, Duke Energy, and Progress Energy seeking the cleanup or shut-down of 14 coal ash pits. The suit challenges a ruling in December 2012 by the Environmental Management Commission, which voted 9-2 that Duke and Progress ash pits were subject to less stringent regulations and were therefore not out of compliance with groundwater contamination standards. The groups argue that monitoring by Progress Energy shows persistent groundwater contamination, including arsenic levels above state standards, at the company’s Asheville Plant and Sutton Steam Plant. Sampling at 12 other coal-fired plants, the litigants contend, also show contamination.[2]

Coal waste in the United States

A January 2009 study by The New York Times following the enormous TVA coal ash spill found that there are more than 1,300 surface impoundments across the U.S. containing coal waste, with some sites as large as 1,500 acres.[3] Also in January 2009, an Associated Press study found that 156 coal-fired power plants store ash in surface ponds similar to the one that ruptured at Kingston Fossil Plant. The states with the most storage in coal ash in ponds are Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama. The AP's analysis found that in 2005, 721 power plants generating at least 100 MW of electricity produced 95.8 million tons of coal ash, about 20 percent of which - or almost 20 million tons - ended up in surface ponds. The rest of the ash winds up in landfills or is sold for other uses.[4] In June 2009, EPA released its list of 44 "high hazard potential" coal waste sites, which included 12 sites in North Carolina, 9 in Arizona, 6 in Kentucky, 6 in Ohio, and 4 in West Virginia.[5] The full list is available here.

Citizen groups



  1. Coal Ash Survey Results, Environmental Protection Agency, accessed December 2009.
  2. Anne Blythe, "Environmental groups seek clean up of 14 coal ash pits," News Observer, Jan. 8, 2013.
  3. Shaila Dewan, "Hundreds of Coal Ash Dumps Lack Regulation," New York Times, January 7, 2009.
  4. Dina Cappiello, "Toxic Coal Ash Piling up in Ponds in 32 States," Associated Press, January 9, 2009.
  5. Shaila Dewan, "E.P.A. Lists ‘High Hazard’ Coal Ash Dumps," New York Times, June 30, 2009.

Related articles

External links