Coal ash recycling is underway in Wayne County.
This month, Duke Energy began operations at the H.F. Lee Plant in Goldsboro.
There are four coal ash basins at the former coal-fired power plant, and Duke Energy is planning to recycle the over 6 million tons of coal ash left at the site.
Bill Norton is a spokesperson for Duke Energy.
He says this is the second of three coal ash recycling facilities Duke is opening in North Carolina this year.
Once all three facilities are open, Duke will be recycling more coal ash per year than it’s power plants produce in one year.
Coal ash is used to strengthen concrete, and the recycling process removes the unneeded carbon.
Norton says there are misconceptions and misinformation on the coal ash recycling process.
When addressing health concerns about the coal ash recycling, Norton says the process ensures the coal ash “never sees the light of day” as it is transported in pneumatically-sealed, airtight trucks.
Norton says emissions from the recycling facility are a fraction of what was produced when the H.F. Lee Plant was in operation.
He adds that there is a “considerable body of scientific research” on coal ash that runs counter to the claims regarding the health problems it may cause.
Norton says the plant has to stay at a certain level of noise and there will be no odors associated with the coal ash recycling.
The facility will have about 15 full-time employees and 30 truck drivers as well as an additional 15 employees and five drivers who’ll be working on the excavation of the basins.
It may take up to 15 years to completely recycle all of the remaining coal ash at the H.F. Lee Plant.
While Duke Energy says the coal ash recycling is a safe process, some in the Wayne County community are worried about what it might do to the environment. GoldsboroDailyNews.com will have their side of the story this Friday.