FROM NEWS & WIRE REPORTS – Duke Energy admitted Monday that 82,000 tons of coal ash and up to 27 million gallons of water were released from a pond at a closed plant at Eden into the Dan River. The concern by Kerr Lake Park Watch is that the Dan River is one of the main water sources for the John H. Kerr Reservoir.
Photo of Dan River 1 day after spill from Fox 8 WGHP TV – High Point, NC
Duke said a storm-water pipe under the unlined ash pond broke Sunday afternoon. Water and ash from the 27-acre pond drained into the pipe.
â€œWeâ€™ve had some temporary solutions that have intermittently worked at times during the day, but we are still working on a short-term solution and the long-term repair,â€ spokeswoman Erin Culbert said late Monday.
The pond has a liquid capacity of 155 million gallons when full, according to a recent inspection report, but was at a lower level because the Dan River power plantâ€™s coal-fired units were retired in 2012. Itâ€™s not known how much ash was in the basin, but Culbert said most of it appears to still be in the pond.
Duke said it notified local emergency managers and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which last year sued Duke over its ash handling, on Sunday afternoon. The first public notice of the spill came from Duke at 4:03 p.m. Monday.
“It’s apparent once again that the government’s toxic waste management leaves a lot to be desired, particularly when monitoring the big money,” said Frank Timberlake, Lead Public Affairs for Kerr Lake Park Watch. “If there is no impact to Kerr Lake, then we’re all going to be lucky, but we are going to want the opinions of the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Roanoke River Basin Association. If there is a silver lining, there is time before camping and fishing season. It just seems to me that whether in Virginia or North Carolina big money seems to be doing its damnedest to give us two-tailed, four-eyed fish that glow in the dark in Kerr Lake.”
KLPW is in the process of communicating with the Roanoke River Basin Association and the US Army Corps of Engineers to get their assessment of the leak and how it may impact Kerr Lake.