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Dominion to pay $1.4 million fire for alleged violations of Virginia’s environmental laws

Christian Fernsby |
Dominion will pay $1.4 million and improve environmental monitoring.

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This is in order to address alleged violations of Virginia’s environmental laws at Possum Point Power Station and Chesterfield Power Station under the terms of a settlement with Attorney General Mark R. Herring, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Under the terms of the settlement, Dominion will pay a total of $1.4 million in civil penalties, $990,000 will go to Virginia and $410,000 will go to the United States; will conduct multiple environmental compliance audits at numerous facilities; will put a comprehensive environmental management system in place; and will be liable for stipulated penalties for any future violations.

According to the complaint, from about March 25, 2015 through April 28, 2015, Dominion violated its Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit by releasing approximately 27.5 million gallons of water from a coal ash impoundment at its Possum River Power Station without providing required specific advance notice.

Additionally, the complaint alleges that on two separate occasions, groundwater seepage was observed along the shoreline of the James River, adjacent to Dominion’s Chesterfield Power Station.

The settlement addresses seven state and federal alleged environmental violations including:

Violation of Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) Construction Stormwater Permits

Violation of VPDES Permit Effluent Limitations

Violation of VPDES Permit Notice Condition

Violation of VPDES Permit Discharge Prohibition

Virginia State Water Control Law Violations (State only)

Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act Violations (Federal only)

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Federal only)

Under the terms of the settlement, Dominion Energy agreed to the following:

Civil penalties totaling $1.4 million Virginia will receive $990,000 of that and the United States will receive $410,000

Stipulated penalties to both the United States and Virginia for any future violations

An Environmental Management Systems audit that will be conducted by an independent, third-party, Environmental Management System Auditor

A Third-Party Environmental Audit of the Chesapeake Energy Center, Chesterfield, Clover, Bremo, Possum Point, Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, and Yorktown Fixed facilities as well as three randomly chosen stormwater VPDES permitted facilities that will be conducted by a third-party Environmental Audit Consultant

At least monthly visual inspections of adjacent shorelines at low-tide at its Coal Ash Impoundment Facilities

Trainings on its standard operating procedures for notification of the release of any hazardous substances

Annual trainings for all individuals with environmental management responsibilities

In accordance with state law and State Water Control Board regulations, the settlement has been approved by Gov. Northam, Attorney General Herring, and DEQ Director Paylor and will now be subject to 30 days of public comment before being submitted to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the district court in which the complaint was filed.

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