Former Grainger ash pond breached, Santee Cooper says no environmental impact expected

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MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – According to Santee Cooper, a crew monitoring ponds at the former Grainger Generating Station in Conway sunday morning discovered a breach in the dike of Pond 1. Pond 1 is a former ash pond that is clean of ash and clean of contact soil below the ash Santee Cooper says no environmental impact is expected.

Officials say an inspection of the ponds late Sunday afternoon found no issues. Overnight, the dike breached and water from the elevated Waccamaw River filled Pond 1. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, local government officials, the Waccamaw Riverkeeper, downstream water users and other stakeholders were notified Sunday morning.

According to the company, In 2014 Santee Cooper began excavating its two Grainger ponds, which were used to store coal ash produced in generating electricity before the plant closed, and the utility completed removal of ash and contact soil in Pond 1 earlier this year. As part of that plan, Santee Cooper already has a permit to breach the Pond 1 dike but was delaying that breach to allow for wetlands restoration.

Santee Cooper says they are taking several steps to address Pond 1 and evaluate potential future actions. The company says personnel are onsite around the clock to monitor conditions as the river level drops. Water testing is underway in the Waccamaw, and those results will be monitored in conjunction with DHEC. Utility personnel are working to contain sediment and debris that may be in the pond.

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