Georgia Power making progress on pond cleanup, closures at coal-fired plants

Georgia Power this week detailed its progress in work to close all 29 ash ponds at 11 active and retired coal-fired power plants across the state.

The utility is completely excavating the 19 ash ponds. Ten of those are being closed in place.

The work includes dewatering, excavation, installation of specialized engineering controls and site restoration.

“As Georgia Power continues to make significant progress on our plants to safely close all of our ash ponds, our focus remains on protecting the environment and our surrounding communities,” Mark Berry, vice president of environmental and natural resources for Georgia Power, said in a statement. “As part of our ash pond closure efforts, Georgia Power is driving innovation to identify new ways to reuse coal ash that are beneficial to our customers and communities, including opportunities for recycling stored coal ash from existing ash ponds.”

The decision to close all of the coal ash ponds was announced in 2015 and detailed a year later. Georgia Power has installed more than 550 groundwater monitoring wells around the ponds and on-site landfills since 2016.

Dewatering efforts are underway at six plants: Bowen, McDonough, McManus, McIntosh, Branch and Yates. Plans are approved for future work at plants Mitchell and Hammond.

Georgia Power still has four operational coal-fired power plants as detailed in December 2019, including Bowen, Scherer, Wansley and McIntosh. Those four together contain about 5 GW of generating capacity.

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