State might cite Duke Energy after stormwater overflow from power plant into river

State officials say they’re investigating a possible violation at a Duke Energy power plant in Cleveland County where up to 50,000 gallons of stormwater flowed into the Broad River.

Duke said the stormwater overflowed from coal stored at the Rogers Energy Complex, formerly known as the Cliffside power plant. The Department of Environmental Quality said the overflow resulted from heavy rain Monday.

DEQ is evaluating the site and said it will take “appropriate enforcement action” after its review. A spokesman added that DEQ is evaluating the potential impact of the discharge.

Duke said the overflow was found during an inspection Tuesday and that it has seen no impact to the river. The stormwater did not come in contact with the 7.8 million tons of coal ash stored in ponds at the site, Duke said.

Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins said it’s not the first time the power plant has experienced damage from floodwater.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Cliffside “experienced a significant localized flood event” in 2005 when floodwaters from a creek overtopped the dam of a coal ash pond and washed away part of it dike.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender