Sutton Lake

Lightweight coal combustion byproducts could be seen Friday, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018 floating on the top of a lake near Wilmington, N.C., and entering the Cape Fear River.
Duke Energy

Nearly 50 years ago, a power company received permission from North Carolina to build a reservoir by damming a creek near the coastal city of Wilmington. It would provide a source of steam to generate electricity and a place to cool hot water from an adjacent coal-fired plant.