EPA holds meeting regarding coal ash spill

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EDEN, N.C. — The EPA held a meeting in Eden for residents concerned about the coal ash spill. It was a packed room with a lot of questions, but not a lot of answers.

Two weeks ago a Duke Energy workers discovered a 48-inch storm pipe was busted. Nearly 40,000 tons of coal ash was leaked into the Dan River. Officials have said that leaked has been plugged.

Recently a second leak was discovered in a different pipe, a 36-inch storm pipe.

“Out of the 36-inch line we are getting containment. Do we have 100 percent containment? Not at this time. No, not until we get that concrete plug in it,” explains Kevin Eichinger, with the EPA.

The EPA says they have started to clean up some of the coal ash but moving forward is a complicated process.

“We have to be able to access it. How do we get to it? It’s not as cut and dry as putting a barge and floating down and shoveling it. We have to find access,” explains Eichinger.

Residents were concerned about water quality, the environment, livestock, crops and the long term impacts.

“It’s a long term solution. You can’t get a quick fix on something like this. We just have to wait and see,” explains Jack Graves, who lives in Eden.

Duke Energy has assured that they will clean up the mess and that customers will not be paying for it.

“You know there’s a lot of promises. ‘We are going to make it right.’ Will they? Will they make it right?” questions Anne Cockrell, who lives in Danville.

The EPA has another community meeting scheduled on Thursday in South Boston, Va.

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