by: Scott Wickersham Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - After last month's massive coal ash spill in the Dan River, Duke Energy says they want to close ash ponds.
The company also wants to move the ash on Mountain Island Lake to an enclosed area at Charlotte-Douglas Airport.
City officials received a letter from Duke Energy Thursday, asking them to consider allowing Duke to move all the coal ash from the Riverbend Plant to the airport.
Duke said it would work with an environmental company, Charah, to safely move and store the ash at the airport.
Duke calls it a way to move the ash away from Charlotte's source of drinking water at Mountain Island Lake and encapsulate to be used as fill dirt for future airport projects.
There could be a cost savings for the airport too. For instance, the grading and filler project for the new runway cost $70 million.
Airport and city officials told Channel 9 that Duke actually approached them about the idea last summer, talking about a similar project they performed burying coal ash at the airport in Asheville.
They said they heard nothing more about it, but that all changed after the ash spill in the Dan River, as Duke is under immediate pressure to move coal ash from all its facilities.
City leaders said their initial reaction is caution, and that any decision would have to involve Department of Natural Resources on a state level, and the EPA.
They are planning to have Duke present this plan to city council at a meeting on March 24. City council will decide if staff should move forward and start due diligence on this.
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