The ponds, which contain toxic materials left over from burning coal to produce power, have been under intense scrutiny since a pipe at a pond in Eden broke - coating 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge.
The spill has brought to light Duke's history of polluting groundwater with its leaky, unlined coal ash dumps.
Wednesday, the company announced the following:
- We have established an internal strategic task force, with deep expertise, to oversee the comprehensive engineering review of every Duke Energy ash basin, as well as to implement near-term actions and develop longer-term solutions systemwide. This team is directly accountable to Lynn Good, Duke Energy's president and chief executive officer.
- We have engaged independent, third-party engineering experts to complete an assessment of all of our ash basins. We have asked for this work to be completed by May 31, 2014, and immediate action will be taken to address any identified issues.
- After securing the required permits, we plan to move ash at three retired plants, accelerate closure of an additional basin, convert to dry ash handling at all remaining facilities in North Carolina and begin dewatering the other retired basins.
- We have begun preliminary engineering to assess a broad range of potential options for management of our remaining ash basins. We expect to complete this work by the end of 2014.
All of Duke's 14 North Carolina ponds were cited last year for polluting groundwater. Following the Dan River spill, the company has been cited for eight more violations.