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Dominion to provide cleaner water for residents near Va. power plant

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Dominion to provide cleaner water for residents near Va. power plant

Dominion Virginia Power will pay to have residents near its Possum Point power plant and coal ash ponds connected to public water supplies or will provide them with water filtration systems, the company confirmed.

Jason Williams, Dominion's environmental manager, on Dec. 9 told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the company's decision follows testing of a new round of monitoring wells in Prince William County that showed elevated levels of boron, chloride, cobalt, nickel, sulfate and zinc.

"They're inconsistent with what we've seen in the past," Williams said.

While the additional monitoring was requested by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality as part of the permitting process for closing the ponds, DEQ did not request the drinking water improvements, Dominion spokesman Rob Richardson said.

"We're doing this work so that residents can have complete confidence in their drinking water," Richardson said.

The spokesman said he did not yet have a cost estimate on the project or a timeline of when residents will be hooked up to the public water. Prince William County will be in charge of the work, while Dominion will establish a fund and pay for the water improvements, Richardson said.

Dominion Virginia Power representatives and county officials are scheduled to meet with residents near the power plant this week to discuss the project, Richardson added.

Williams told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the company plans to contact about 35 homeowners in the area to discuss the alternative drinking water options.

Dominion has not backed down on its closure plans for the coal ash ponds at Possum Point and DEQ has not signaled that the drinking water concerns will halt the permitting process.

The Virginia State Water Control Board in January approved applications from Dominion Virginia Power, known legally as Virginia Electric and Power Co., to discharge millions of gallons of treated wastewater from the ponds at the Possum Point plant in Prince William County and the Bremo Bluff plant in Fluvanna County into nearby waterways. The company plans to install on-site treatment facilities at these plants.

Richardson, in October, noted there are 250 million to 300 million gallons of water that need to be treated, tested and discharged from Possum Point and Bremo Bluff.

There are five ash ponds at the Possum Point site, but only one of them is lined. The company plans to remove the ash from the four unlined impoundments and put it into the lined pond before capping the lined pond.

Richardson said Dec. 12 that the company's decision to provide access to public water supplies or water filtration systems for residents near the ash ponds was not shaped by Duke Energy Corp.'s similar plans in North Carolina. Duke Energy is required by state law to close all of its coal ash ponds by the end of 2029 and provide permanent alternative water supplies to residents within a half-mile radius of coal ash impoundments by the fall of 2018.

Dominion Virginia Power is a subsidiary of Dominion Resources Inc.