Dominion plans to move coal ash at Bremo to lined landfill

By Heather Michon

Dominion Power held a public meeting at the Fork Union Community Center on Thursday night (April 29) to provide an update on its plans for the 6.2 million cubic feet of coal ash stored at their Bremo facility.

About a dozen residents, masked and socially distanced, attended the meeting.

The toxic ash, a byproduct of Bremo’s eight decades as a coal-fired power plant, is currently stored in what’s called the North Ash Pond near the now-idle facility. Because this pond has no bottom liner, toxic material and heavy metals can potentially leach into the groundwater and the nearby James River.

Legislation in 2019 required Dominion clean up the 27 million cubic feet of coal ash held at Bremo and other facilities across the state within 15 years, either through recycling or removal to fully lined landfills, or a combination of both.

Sarah Marshall, External Affairs Manager for Dominion, explained that the company had decided that the “safest and most economical” option for Bremo was to move the ash into a lined landfill not far from its current location.

Because the transfer would happen entirely within Dominion’s property, they would not have to use public roads to haul it from one place to another. A short internal road will connect the two sites.

On April 1, Dominion filed with the county for a special use permit as the first step in that process.

If all goes according to their current plans, it will take a couple of years to get the needed county, state, and federal permits before construction can actually begin. They anticipate it will take until 2030 or 2031 to build the pond and move the coal ash. Once completed, the landfill will be capped and covered with soil.

The tentative budget for the project is $500 million.

Of that amount, they have made a proffer of around $47 million for the Fork Union Sanitary District (FUSD), $500,000 to Parks and Rec for a recreation facility, and $2 million to VDOT for road improvements around Bremo Road (Rt. 656).

“We’ve had a lot of conversations with the county and with VDOT,” said Marshall. “We want to be good neighbors.”

The project will not, however, be invisible to local residents. Dominion believes that there will be a daily increase of about 100 construction-related vehicles on and around West Bottom Road for about 3 ½ years during the digging of the new landfill.

Included in the state legislation is a requirement for Dominion to monitor water quality of wells and household water supplies around the plant. Wells are tested once a year for the first five years, then every five years for the next three decades.

Asked what Dominion would do if they found contamination of a homeowner’s well, Marshall said they were required to provide drinking water until the issue was resolved, and would pay for the homeowner to connect to the FUSD water line, dig a new well, or otherwise reestablish a safe water supply.

The Fluvanna County Planning Commission will discuss the special use permit and rezoning request at their March 11 meeting.




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