CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Dec. 8, 2015 — Environmental groups in Virginia have expressed concerns over a proposal by Dominion Virginia Power to pump millions of gallons of treated wastewater from coal ash ponds into the James River and Quantico Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River, according to a press release.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently issued two draft permits that would allow Dominion to release the coal ash wastewater from its Bremo Power Station and Possum Point Power Station, noted the release.

However, the Southern Environmental Law Center claims that these draft permits “would allow the wastewater to enter the river laden with toxic heavy metals at levels exceeding the state’s own standards for protecting human and environmental health.”

Brad McLane, senior attorney for the nonprofit law firm, said in a statement: “It is troubling that DEQ drafted permits that do not comply with state and federal requirements. Dominion is being offered a free pass to put cancer-causing and toxic metals and other pollutants in the river at levels above state health standards.”

The Southern Environmental Law Center and its partners, the James River Association and Potomac Riverkeeper Network, want DEQ to revise the draft permits so that Dominion has to meet more stringent requirements on treating the wastewater and limiting its flow into waterways, stated the release.

The proposed release of wastewater is part of Dominion’s plan to close 11 coal ash ponds at current and former coal-fired energy plants, the Associated Press reported. Capping the ponds is expected to take four years.

You can find the entire release here.