Three Virginia lawmakers have asked state environmental officials to give the public two more months to study a controversial plan by Dominion Virginia Power to drain a pond at Possum Point Power Station that is filled with potentially hazardous coal ash.
The legislators, state Sen. Dave Marsden and Delegates David L Bulova and Scott A. Surovell, all Democrats whose districts include the power station, said the complexity of Dominion’s proposal warranted more extensive examination by their constituents before environmental officials make a decision about the plan.
The lawmakers asked that a public comment period that was scheduled to end on Dec. 14 be extended by 60 days.
“It is not clear to us that the public is fully aware that actions are proceeding,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter Monday to David Paylor, the director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. “We should endeavor to do this right from the outset to set a strong, protective precedent for our state.”
The letter also cited “a concerning lack of specific information” about how much “metals-laced water” from the pond would be discharged when it is drained.
In an interview Tuesday night, Surovell said he hopes the commenting period will be extended so he and others — especially those who live, swim and fish near the Prince William County plant — can learn more about the permit.
“I’m not a coal ash water filtration expert, but I’m pretty sure that hexavalent chromium, boron and lead aren’t good for your complexion,” said Surovell, who is also a Senator-elect in the 36th District. “I’m waiting to hear from outside experts and DEQ to see whether or not every drop of water going into Quantico Creek and the Potomac (River) is going to be heavy-metal free.”
Dominion officials have repeatedly said the public’s health is not in danger. A project that consolidated the power plant’s five coal-ash ponds into one began this May.
A public hearing is scheduled for Dec. 8 in Woodbridge.