Headwaters to manage coal ash at Dominion’s new Wise County plant

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Headwaters Inc., the country’s largest manager of coal ash, said Wednesday that a subsidiary has entered into a long-term contract with Dominion Virginia Power to manage the 2 million tons of coal ash that will be produced annually at the utility’s new power plant in Wise County.

Coal ash is the residue left from burning coal. It contains heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury, and options for its regulation are currently under review by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Dominion Virginia Power’s 585-megawatt, Virginia City Hybrid Center is scheduled to begin operations in summer of 2012. The power station’s circulating, fluidized-bed technology will rely on coal, waste coal and up to 20 percent biomass for fuel. 

To pursue contracts such as Virginia City, Utah-based Headwaters formed a new subsidiary, Headwaters Plant Services Inc. that will be led by Mike Adams, a senior vice president.  “The complexity of coal ash disposal operations will increase as new environmental regulations are adopted and many utilities will be forced to upgrade disposal practices or convert to new types of disposal altogether, “ Adams said in a statement. 

In Virginia, Dominion Virginia Power has been battling a lawsuit regarding coal ash. Nearly 400 residents living near Battlefield Golf Club in Chesapeake sued the company and golf course developer CPM Virginia LLC in 2009 seeking more than $1 billion in damages and the removal of 1.5 million tons of ash from the site.  Dominion supplied fly ash to the developer from its power plant in Chesapeake. The material was used to contour the golf course. A judge has dismissed some of the charges raised in the suit, and no trial date has been set.

Headwaters has projects at more than 100 utility locations, managing about 20 million tons of coal combustion products annually.  It plans to construct maintenance and office facilities at the Wise County site where it will provide ash management and ancillary services.  They include the hauling, placement and compaction of coal ash residuals within local designated areas.
“We are pleased to become Dominion’s partner at this cutting-edge facility well in advance of its completion,” Adams said. “Assisting with the design and construction of ash management infrastructure will enable us to more efficiently conduct ash handling and disposal operations for years to come.


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