Possum Point Power Station Public Facilities Review Determination and Permit Process

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Provided by Prince William County Office of Communications

Dominion Energy submitted a request to the County Planning Office dated March 7, 2022, for a public facilities review determination for a proposed solid waste (coal ash) landfill at the Possum Point Power Station located at 19000 Possum Point Road.  The Possum Point Power Station is defined as a public facility in the Prince William County Zoning Ordinance. Public facilities are permitted in all zoning districts, subject a public facility review.  The proposed landfill would replace an existing coal ash pond (Pond D).  (The coal ash in the other coal ash ponds has already been removed and placed in Pond D).  In accordance with the Prince William County Zoning Ordinance definitions, both the proposed landfill and the existing coal ash pond are considered debris landfills.  In 1986, the Prince William County Zoning Administrator issued a determination that found the coal ash pond was a “continuation of an existing use,” and therefore, a public facility review was not required.

Determination Letter

The proposed landfill is a reconstruction/improvement of an existing debris landfill (coal ash pond) to dispose of and relocate the existing on-site materials. The use will remain within the existing facility property and relocation of materials will occur on-site and is not anticipated to impact County roads.  Based upon a review of the Prince William County Zoning Ordinance, and the previous public facilities review determinations for this site, the Acting Planning Director has determined that the proposed landfill is exempt from the requirement for a public facility review.

A finding of exception from a public facility review does not provide relief to Dominion Energy from applying for and obtaining building, land disturbance, and other relevant permits and approvals from the County prior to construction. The proposed improvements must also comply with the provisions of the County’s Zoning Ordinance and the Design and Construction Standards Manual, and a site plan will be required in accordance with the Zoning Ordinance.

In accordance with 2019 Virginia legislation, Dominion Energy is responsible for determining which option it will pursue for removal of the coal ash from the existing coal ash pond. Dominion has indicated its preference to construct a new on-site landfill.  However, a final determination has not yet been made by Dominion Energy.  A solid waste permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will be required for any option pursued, which includes a public hearing and notice process by DEQ.  Dominion must also comply with its existing water discharge permit, which was previously issued by DEQ.

In addition to a DEQ solid waste permit, the on-site landfill must meet applicable federal requirements, including a composite liner and leachate collection system.  A site plan for any land disturbance will also be required from the County to ensure all local ordinances and standards are met.  Under a previous agreement with the County, Dominion is required to provide County staff with opportunities for briefings, review of reports and data, and comment on relevant permits and shall consider in good faith all County comments.

At its meeting on May 24, 2022, the Board of County Supervisors directed County staff to review any permit application submitted to the DEQ and draft comments to DEQ for the Board’s consideration, to include comments provided by a task force formed by the Potomac District Supervisor. The Board also directed County staff to work with Dominion and DEQ, including, but not limited to, helping coordinate and facilitate the timely distribution of information to the community on the closure of the coal ash ponds and the community’s ability to provide input and comments to Dominion and DEQ.

Any future County informational meetings will be announced to the public when scheduled.

Questions can be sent to coalash@pwcgov.org.

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