Duke pumping from Cape Fear ash pit
Aerial view of Duke Energy workers using a portable pump to empty wastewater from a coal ash pit at its Cape Fear plant in Chatham County, N.C. into a canal that leads to a tributary of the Cape Fear River. The plant's Clean Water Act permit authorizes discharges only when the wastewater level overtops the vertical discharge pipe visible in the photo, in order to reduce discharges of toxic solids. (Photo by Rick Dove, Waterkeeper Alliance.)

INSTITUTE INDEX: Reckoning time for lawbreaking utilities on coal ash?

Date on which the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources cited Duke Energy for violating the terms of a wastewater discharge permit for coal ash impoundments at its shuttered Cape Fear plant in Chatham County, N.C.: 3/20/2014

Estimated gallons of coal ash-contaminated wastewater Duke pumped from the impoundments into a tributary of the Cape Fear River, which provides drinking water for downstream communities including Fort Bragg: 61 million

Factor by which that exceeds the amount of wastewater spilled into the Dan River last month from another Duke Energy coal ash dump due to a broken pipe: 2

Date on which the environmental watchdog Waterkeeper Alliance flew a plane over Duke's Cape Fear site and spotted pumps at the impoundments, leading it to notify regulators: 3/10/2014

Number of days Duke has to respond in writing to DENR's notice of violation: 30

Amount the company could be fined per day for the violations: up to $25,000

Profit made by Duke Energy in 2013 alone: nearly $3 billion

Length in feet of a crack discovered in the earthen dam at one of the Cape Fear plant's coal ash impoundments this week: roughly 35

Date on which a judge rejected Duke Energy's attempt to block a ruling that would force the company to take immediate action to clean up coal ash dumps at its 14 plants across North Carolina: 3/20/2014

Date on which a federal grand jury began meeting in Raleigh, N.C. to examine documents, video and other evidence as part of a criminal probe of the relationship between Duke Energy and DENR launched in the wake of the company's Feb. 2 coal ash spill into the Dan River: 3/18/2014

Number of subpoenas that have been issued so far to utility officials and current or former regulators: at least 23

Number of environmental groups that filed court papers this week to take part in North Carolina's enforcement case against Duke Energy over the Dan River coal ash disaster: 4

Meanwhile in Kentucky, date on which environmental groups filed a notice of intent to sue Louisville Gas & Electric for chronic illegal dumping of toxic coal ash wastewater into the Ohio River from impoundments at its Mill Creek plant -- dumping that the groups discovered by using a hidden camera strapped to a tree: 3/17/2014

Number of years that the environmental groups think LG&E's illegal dumping may have been taking place: more than 20

Distance in feet of the Mill Creek coal ash pit from a middle school: 1,000

Distance in feet from a large residential neighborhood: 500

(Click on figure to go source.)

Image: 
Aerial view of Duke Energy workers using a portable pump to empty wastewater from a coal ash pit at its Cape Fear plant in Chatham County, N.C. into a canal that leads to a tributary of the Cape Fear River. The plant's Clean Water Act permit authorizes discharges only when the wastewater level overtops the vertical discharge pipe visible in the photo, in order to reduce discharges of toxic solids. (Photo by Rick Dove, Waterkeeper Alliance.)
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