Statement on Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill and Impact on Danville, VA
The following is a statement regarding the ongoing coal ash spill at Duke Energy’s Dan River Steam Station in North Carolina from Cale Jaffe, Virginia Office Director at the Southern Environmental Law Center:
“We are continuing to monitor with great concern the ongoing coal ash spill into the Dan River, particularly given the plant’s location upstream of the drinking water supply for Danville, VA.
At this point we know that Duke Energy is estimating that 50,000-82,000 tons of coal ash have been discharged into the river, in addition to over 24 million gallons of polluted basin water. Duke reports that there has been periodic mitigation but the spill is ongoing.
SELC, on behalf of partner groups in North Carolina, has taken legal action against Duke Energy to try to force the cleanup of its coal ash pollution at 14 sites across North Carolina. This prompted the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to file a series of enforcement actions against Duke, at a time when utilities in neighboring states have voluntarily removed coal ash from storage ponds near waterways. According to DENR’s enforcement action, the coal ash has polluted the groundwater at the Dan River site for years, exceeding standards for toxic substances including arsenic, boron, and sulfate.
As EPA, DENR Officials, and Duke work to control the spill and assess its damages, this is a painful reminder of the importance of safeguarding Danville’s drinking water sources. There is no reason any utility should continue to store toxic coal ash on the banks of our rivers and lakes.”