Clean Water Act Issues of Chesapeake Energy Center Coal Ash Ruling in March 2017 Discussed in 3/30/17 National Law Review Article

Virginia Ash Pond Seeps Violate CWA, But Do Not Warrant Civil Penalty, by Amy Antoniolli, Daniel Deeb, and Joshua Moore, in National Law Review, 3/30/17, reviews the legal issues related to the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) in a federal lawsuit over coal-ash storage ponds at Dominion Virginia Power’s Chesapeake Energy Center on the Southern Branch Elizabeth River in the city of Chesapeake, Virginia.

On March 23, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge John Gibney, Jr., issued a 21-page opinion, ruling that the plaintiff, the Sierra Club, had proved that arsenic from four impoundments at the Chesapeake Center had contaminated groundwater and reached the Elizabeth River.  Gibney’s ruling stated that that pollution violates the federal Clean Water Act, because Dominion did not have a Virginia Pollutant Elimination Discharge Systems permit for such discharges.  Key parts of the ruling are that the judge considered the ash-storage area to be point source of pollution under the CWA, and that groundwater contamination from the storage area was a violation of CWA because the groundwater was connected to surface waters covered by the law.  The National Law Review article discusses those findings.

For more detail on the lawsuit, please see this Water Central News Grouper post: Lawsuit Filed by Sierra Club in March 2015.

For more detail on coal-ash storage issues in Virginia, please see this Water Central News Grouper post: Closure of Coal Ash Ponds at Dominion and APCO Power Stations in Virginia, 2015-2017.

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