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Georgia Power completes closure construction at 7 coal ash ponds

Georgia Power Co. said Dec. 13 that it completed closure construction activities for seven coal ash ponds at its Hammond, Harllee Branch, Jack McDonough, Kraft ST and Yates plants.

The latest closures are part of the utility's plans to shut all 29 coal ash ponds at 11 current and former coal plants throughout Georgia.

The company is completely excavating 19 ash ponds adjacent to lakes or rivers and closing the remaining 10 in place.

Georgia Power said construction activities are ongoing, and it expects closure construction efforts to be completed at the McDonough, McManus and Yates plants in 2019.

The company finished submitting 29 Coal Combustion Residuals permit applications in November as required by the state. In August, the Southern Co. subsidiary updated its ash pond closure plans for Bowen and Harllee Branch to increase the number of excavated ponds at both locations.

"Our multi-year closure strategy is aggressive, and we are making great progress, while remaining committed to working quickly and safely, protecting water quality every step of the way and complying with all state and federal requirements," Georgia Power Vice President of Environmental and Natural Resources Mark Berry said in a news release.

The company said it has identified no risk to public health or drinking water in the data gathered from approximately 500 groundwater monitoring wells since 2016.