Report: Wastewater leaking from repairs to Dan River coal ash spill

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources is investigating a discharge of wastewater to the Dan River from an emergency piping system Duke Energy installed Feb. 9 in response to the coal ash spill.

Duke Energy said the wastewater discharge did not include any coal ash.

Duke Energy told the DENR less than 1,000 gallons of wastewater reached the Dan River from an emergency piping system the company installed Feb. 9 during its response to the coal ash spill.

The piping was installed to divert wastewater away from the coal ash pond that failed and into a separate, working coal ash pond at the Dan River Steam Station.

Duke Energy said the newly constructed emergency piping system did not work as intended and a backflow from the emergency system got into an existing pipe connection at the site and discharged into the Dan River.

The company reported to environmental regulators that the wastewater released from the emergency piping system to the Dan River contained yard drainage water, basement sump water and treated domestic wastewater from sources outside either coal ash lagoon.

Duke Energy reported the existing pipe through which the back flow occurred was plugged when the company discovered the problem to avoid further discharges to the river. The company also said the wastewater from the emergency piping system did not intersect with the coal ash waste and, therefore, the company reports that no coal ash waste made its way into the Dan River during the wastewater spill.

DENR’s investigation of this wastewater discharge will be included in the probe the state is conducting of the coal ash spill and any subsequent enforcement actions.

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