US company Duke Energy’s subsidiaries have been fined $102 million (£64m) for a coal ash spill.
They pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act. Some of the charges are the direct result of discharging pollution from coal-ash dumps.
The incident from the Dan River steam station into the Dan River near Eden, North Carolina took place in February 2014.
Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Business Services were investigated.
They have agreed to pay a $68 million fine and spend $34 million on environmental projects and land conservation to benefit rivers and wetlands in North Carolina and Virginia.
Acting US Attorney Jill W. Rose for the Western District of North Carolina said: “Duke’s subsidiaries discharged potentially toxic pollutants that put at risk North Carolina’s water quality and wildlife and today’s outcome ensures they will be held responsible for violating federal environmental requirements.”
Duke Energy said in a statement: “We are implementing innovative and sustainable closure solutions for all of our ash basins, building on the important steps we’ve taken over the past year to strengthen our operations.
“Our highest priority is to operate our system as safely as possible for the customers and communities we serve.”