Danville, VA - Starting Tuesday, visitors will not be able to access Abreu Grogan Park in Danville.
Duke Energy will be fencing it off and working to remove the coal ash deposits. Duke Energy spokesmen spoke to the media Monday about their plans. It will be off limits until at least July.The only people who will be visiting the Abreu Grogan Park for the rest of the spring and start of the summer will be Duke Energy crews.
"It's going to be a real inconvenience, that park is popular," said Joe King, Danville City Manager.
Instead of tourists, there will be gates as Duke works with a contractor to attempt to remove coal ash. Duke spokesperson Jeff Brooks says they identified several locations with large ash deposits in the Dan River. The biggest is along the park. After they receive permits, they plan to start a process called vacuum dredging.
"Vacuum will suck the material from the river, from the surface above the sediment level...and then removing that," said Brooks.
They will separate water from ash and take the contaminated substance to lined landfills in Virginia and North Carolina.
"All of this will be done with that sensitivity in mind to ensure we are removing the material without creating additional harm," said Brooks.
Brooks says of the possible 39,000 tons of ash that leaked into the river 2,500 may be sitting in this deposit. But he couldn't answer how much they plan to remove.
"It's a complicated process, it's not a simple solution or a simple answer," said Brooks.
This will all be done as state and federal agencies monitor the process.
Duke will also take the ash filtered out by the water treatment plant and move that to lined landfills as well.Duke will be paying the city $2,500 for the use of the park during these months.
When asked why it took so long to start this process, Duke Energy said that the mapping process to figure out where the main deposits were took a while. Plus bad weather and permits held them up.