DANVILLE, VA. – Three months after a coal ash spill into the Dan River, the largest deposit found in the water is moving out.
Duke Energy talked about the process Monday as the cleanup began in earnest.
The largest area of coal ash and sediment is approximately 2,500 tons according to Duke Energy.
It is 350 yards X 20 yards and about one foot deep.
Duke has hired a contractor that agitates the river bottom then vacuums the water and sediment.
That mixture is brought onshore, shaken and separated. The water is sent to a tank so more coal ash can settle to the bottom and be filtered out while the muddy coal ash is collected in ten-ton containers meant for a lined landfill in Person County, North Carolina. Eight to 10 of those containers are filled each day.
The containers are also lined but the mud and coal ash that's pulled up from the bottom of the river is not considered hazardous.
"That's not going to harm a person from that little bit of a deposit," said Jeff Brooks, a spokesman for Duke Energy.
Duke reiterated that since the spill tests have found that the drinking water remains safe.
The city of Danville said as a precaution their intake system at the water treatment plant a few miles away will not operate while the river dredging is going on.
"Not that we anticipate any problems, just to try and reassure the public that the water they're getting from us is safe to drink," said Arnold Hendrix, a spokesman for the city of Danville.
The clean-up is expected to finish in June and with the river and the Abreu-Grogan park reopening in July.