Cliffside Steam Station has 104 groundwater monitoring wells, 41 of which have been polluted above federal advisory levels based on samples collected between April 01, 2011 and September 28, 2017. Groundwater at this site contains unsafe levels of cobalt, manganese, sulfate, beryllium, thallium, arsenic, selenium, lithium, molybdenum, lead, cadmium and chromium.Site description
Duke Energy's Cliffside Steam Station began operating in 1940 in Cleveland and Rutherford Counties, North Carolina, and at its peak, it could generate up to 1,387 megawatts (MW) of electricity. In October 2011, four of the coal-fired units were retired. The fifth unit, which began operating in 1972, is located about a half mile away from the other four units has been upgraded in recent years. The newest unit, clean coal unit 6, came online in 2012 and can generate up to 825 MW of electricity.
The site is home to one active ash basin and two retired ash basins. In 2009, the active ash basin had a surface area of 84 acres, could contain 5,025 acre-feet of waste, and was approximately 80% full. One of the retired basins had a surface area of 46 acres and has been capped with soil, while the other is a full un-capped pond with a surface area of 14 acres. In October 2005, floodwaters from a nearby creek entered the 14-acre retired ash basin, causing the impoundment to overflow and one of the dikes to fail.
In August 2013, the State of North Carolina entered into a consent decree with Duke Energy regarding seeps and other un-permitted discharges to groundwater from the site. In March 2014, the North Carolina Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) cited Duke Energy for stormwater and dam safety violations related to all three of its on-site ash ponds. The NCDENR also found thallium in surface waters near the base of one of the ash ponds. Cliffside Steam Station's Active Ash Basin, CCP Landfill, Inactive Units 1-4 Basin and Inactive Unit 5 Basin are all regulated under the CCR-rule. You can find the industry reported data here.
For more information regarding Cliffside Steam Station, see EIP's 2019National Coal Ash Report.