Wednesday, February 19, 2014

North Carolina officials say toxins are leaking from second Duke Energy pipe into Dan River

North Carolina officials are already under fire for wrongly declaring the arsenic levels in the Dan River safe after a Feb. 2 Duke Energy coal-ash spill. On Tuesday, those same officials announced that toxins from a second leaking pipe are still pouring water containing unsafe levels of arsenic into the river, Michael Biesecker reports for The Associated Press.

"The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources ordered Duke to stop the flow of contaminated water coming out a pipe that runs under a huge coal ash dump at its Eden power plant," Biesecker writes. "State regulators expressed concern five days ago that the second pipe could fail, triggering a new spill. The water coming out of that pipe contains poisonous arsenic at 14 times the level considered safe for human contact, according to test results released by the state on Tuesday."

Authorities have said that "public drinking water in Danville, Va., and other communities downstream of the Duke plant remain safe," Biesecker writes. " Heavy metals detected in the river at levels exceeding state and federal safety standards—including arsenic, lead and selenium—are being successfully filtered out of water drawn from the river at municipal treatment plants, they said."

On Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said "a massive pile of coal ash about 75 feet long and as much as 5 feet deep has been detected in the river by the site of the Feb. 2 spill," Biesecker writes. "Deposits varying from five inches deep to less than one inch coated the river bottom across the state line into Virginia and to Kerr Lake, a major reservoir. Federal authorities expressed concern for what long-term effect the contaminants will have on fish, mussels and other aquatic life." (Read more)

On Monday, state lawmakers asked officials to explain how coal-ash disposal, specifically from Duke, is being monitored, and how it can affect the state and its residents.

No comments: