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SC to seek new water permit for coal ash ponds

CONWAY, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina officials will issue a new water permit for pools used to store coal ash in Conway.

Environmental groups say the decision by the Department of Health and Environmental Control should help reduce pollution from the lagoons near Santee Cooper's Grainger Generating Station.

Santee Cooper's permit for the lagoons expired in 2006, and DHEC had been allowing the utility to operate under old technology allowed under the permit. The new permit should be issued by August.

Environmental groups say the coal ash can seep into the ground and end up in the Waccamaw River.

The agreement settles a lawsuit against DHEC. The groups still have a lawsuit outstanding against Santee Cooper accusing it of failing to get state permits for groundwater contamination under and near the coal ash lagoons.