WFU researchers use drone to estimate size of Dan River coal ash spill

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A team of Wake Forest academic researchers equipped with a drone aircraft estimate that about 35 million gallons of coal ash and contaminated wastewater spilled into the Dan River earlier this month.

The video depicts where ash washed out from the pond basin and where the water line was when the pond emptied.

After collecting data and with the use of the model, the researchers estimated that 16-20 million gallons of ash and water spilled out of the pond on Feb. 2.

Up to 15 million additional gallons have been spilled since then.

The reported amount equals about 53 Olympic-sized swimming pools, making it the third largest coal ash spill in the nation’s history.

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