Dan River Coal Ash Spill Pollutes Waterway Near Retired Duke Energy Plant (PHOTOS)

Posted: 02/04/2014 11:53 am EST Updated: 02/05/2014 11:59 am EST

Photo courtesy of Appalachian Voices.

EDEN, N.C. (AP) — A pipe under a coal ash pond broke in northern North Carolina, releasing an unknown amount of coal ash into the Dan River, Duke Energy Corp. said Monday.

The pipe broke Sunday afternoon at the now-closed Dan River Steam Station in Eden, the utility said. The ash pond covers about 27 acres, and the dam holding the water in was not affected by the leak, officials said.

A water quality-monitoring team is checking the river, but Duke Energy said downstream water supplies have not been affected.

Photo courtesy of Appalachian Voices.

Officials in Danville, Va., which draws its water from the Dan River downstream from the ash pond, said the spill did not affect the quality of the city’s water supply.

“All water leaving our treatment facility has met public health standards. We do not anticipate any problems going forward in treating the water we draw from the Dan River,” said Barry Dunkley, division director of water and wastewater treatment for Danville Utilities.

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in a statement that it is investigating, as well as helping to monitor water quality and work with Duke energy to clean up the spill.

Photo courtesy of Appalachian Voices.

Engineers have not figured out exactly how much ash and water made it into the Dan River in Rockingham County, although Duke Energy promised to make that figure public as soon as calculations are complete.

Read More  and See Additional Photos Here


INSTITUTE INDEX: Duke Energy coal ash spill latest in ongoing regulatory disaster

Date on which a break in a stormwater pipe beneath a coal ash disposal pit at a shuttered Duke Energy power plant near Eden, N.C. contaminated the Dan River with toxic coal ash: 2/2/2014

Estimated tons of coal ash — which contains toxins including arsenic, lead, mercury,  and radioactive elements — that were released to the river: 50,000 to 82,000

Number of Olympic-size swimming pools that amount of coal ash would fill: 20 to 32

Estimated gallons of coal ash-contaminated water from the storage pit that also reached the river: 24 million to 27 million

Number of rail cars the toxic pollution could fill: 413 to 677

Rank of the spill among the largest coal ash spills in U.S. history: 3

Hours that Duke Energy waited from the time it discovered the spill to report it to the public: 26

Miles downstream of the spill site that Danville, Va. draws its drinking water: 6

Age in years of Duke Energy’s Dan River ash pits: 53

Year in which Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspections found problems with leakage at the plant’s coal ash dam as well as dilapidated and poorly maintained stormwater pipes: 2009

Number of coal-fired power plants that Duke Energy owns across North Carolina: 14

Percent of those plants where there have been unpermitted discharges of coal ash to the environment: 100

Amount that is being spent to run a municipal water line to the North Carolina community of Flemington because a leaky Duke Energy coal ash pit contaminated the local groundwater supply: $2.25 million

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Breaking: Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill Pollutes River and Threatens Drinking Water

| February 4, 2014 10:50 am

[This is the first article in a two-part series. Read part two.]

dlisenbyYesterday afternoon, Duke Energy reported that it spilled between 50,000 to 82,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River near Eden, NC. To put the volume in perspective, the spill is the equivalent of 413 to 677 rail cars of wet coal ash poured into a public drinking water source. The spill is located on a stretch of the Dan River between Eden, NC and Danville, VA. An estimated 22 million gallons of coal ash could already be in the Dan River moving downstream.

Equally disturbing is that neither Duke Energy nor any of the government regulators issued a press release and informed the public about this massive spill until 24 hours after it was discovered. If a freight train full of this toxic waste had derailed, there would have been immediate notification and quick news coverage in order to inform and protect the public. The delay in reporting this spill is inexcusable.

A security guard who noticed unusually low water in the ash pond at the shuttered coal plant led to the discovery of the spill.  This means most of the water had escaped and contaminated the river before anyone at Duke noticed.

Upon investigation, Duke discovered that a 48-inch stormwater pipe underneath the unlined 27-acre, 155-million-gallon ash pond broke Sunday afternoon and drained tens of thousands of tons of coal ash and water into the Dan River.

Read More Here


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