Some Eden residents still concerned about coal ash spill

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EDEN, N.C. -- Environmentalists and Eden residents spoke out Tuesday night about concerns they still have two years after Duke Energy's massive coal ash spill.

In a public meeting, Duke officials laid out their plans to prevent future spills.

"We still have a long ways to go,” said district manager for Duke Energy Davis Montgomery.  “We're not done yet and we recognize that."

That plan is to close all coal ash ponds in the state using a ranking system.

Ponds are ranked high, intermediate or low-risk.

The pond's ranking determines how soon it will be closed.

The coal ash pond in Eden where 39,000 tons of coal ash were spilled into the Dan River is ranked high-risk and is in the process of being shut down.

Six thousand tons of coal ash are shoveled out of the pond every week.

"A lot has changed at the plant along with the river itself," Montgomery said.

Eden city officials say since clean up started, they've had to do a lot to reassure residents that the river was safe.

"We've done a lot to promote our rivers,” said Mike Dougherty, director of economic development. “It's beautiful out there. There's a lot of wildlife."

But some at the meeting say they want the department of environmental quality to do more.

"Test the water, test the soil," said Chatham County resident John Wagner.

The coal ash pond in Eden will be closed by 2019.

The coal ash removed from the pond is being taken to landfills in Eden and Virginia.