Coal ash spill flows into the Dan River

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(Photo credit: Michael Harvey)

(Photo credit: Michael Harvey)

EDEN, N.C. -- Duke Energy, along with federal, state and local teams, are working to stop a coal ash spill at the Dan River Steam Station in Eden.

Duke Energy says as much as 27 million gallons of ashy water along with nearly 82,000 tons of coal ash flowed into the Dan River when a 48-inch stormwater pipe snapped on Sunday afternoon.

At this time Duke Energy does not know why the pipe snapped. But Duke Energy spokesperson Paige Sheehan says they have slowed the flow of coal ash and water into the Dan River.

"We immediately began working with our local and internal emergency response folks, calling in engineers to help us with a solution," she said.

Meanwhile, environmentalists like Matt Wasson from Appalachian Voices were shocked to see so much ash in the Dan River.

"You know what, I was not expecting this,” Wasson said. “Two miles downstream we would have this amount of coal ash coating the entire river."

Donna Lisenby with Water Keeper Alliance fears the chemicals in the ash could harm the Dan River.

"Things like selenium, selenium has a negative impact to fisheries."

Rockingham County officials say the drinking water is safe. Initial water quality testing from the state also confirms water from the Dan River is safe.

Environmental groups are running their own test and should have results next week.

4 comments

  • Brian Quinby

    These coal ash spills are all too common and amazingly coincidental to disposal timelines. It is absurd to allow 24 and 48 hr. reporting delays in 2014. Accidents should be public knowledge immediately. Heavy metal concentrations still have not been reported locally.

  • JT

    But Big Energy doesn’t need to be regulated at all. The “job creators” in this sector can’t be burdened by making sure they don’t destroy the environment/exploit their workers. Wait until fracking gets here and your water is combustible right out of the tap…this will be a drop in the bucket.

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