|RICHMOND (March 13, 2020) – Dominion will pay $1.4 million and improve environmental monitoring 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.
“It is critical that massive energy companies, like Dominion, adhere to state and federal environmental protections at every one of their facilities,” said Attorney General Herring. “I hope a settlement like this sends a strong message to other energy companies that noncompliance with both state and federal environmental protections will not be tolerated in Virginia. I want to thank our partners at the EPA and DEQ for their help with this case.”
“DEQ is pleased to have collaborated with EPA in this comprehensive settlement that holds Dominion and its facilities accountable across the board,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “DEQ expects everyone to comply with the state’s environmental requirements at each and every facility they operate.”
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.