As of right now, coal ash waste and water, although reduced, is still flowing into the #DanRiver from the Duke Power holding pond near Eden, NC.  Several sources have told Kerr Lake Park Watch that the water near Danville, VA is a murky gray.

There have not yet been any plausible comments about the potential contamination effects on the #John H. Kerr Reservoir from NC DENR or the equivalent agency in Virginia.  Officials at the US Army Corps of Engineers say that NC DENR is the lead agency on the spill.  However, NC DENR officials aren’t responding to questions about Kerr Lake.  The DENR Public Affairs Officer Drew Elliott has not responded to KLPW.  This afternoon, the PA Officer for the Division of State Parks called KLPW to say that his division doesn’t know much about the spill or impact to the lake.

Michael T. Womack the Operations Project Manager at John H. Kerr Reservoir today said, “Our Water and Emergency Management officials have been monitoring the situation with the coal ash spill into the Dan River, and have been in contact with state emergency management officials as well as local water system managers.  They are following the situation closely.  However, it is the state of NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources that is the lead agency for this incident. Our water and emergency management team will continue to monitor the situation at John H. Kerr Reservoir and will maintain ongoing communication with North Carolina and Virginia state officials, along with water system managers.”

The Corps is also using its extensive water and scenario research arm to discover the spill’s impact on the lake, “Our water and emergency management teams are in consultation with the USACE Engineering, Research & Development Center in Vicksburg, MS to see how they can assist us in understanding the possible impacts of this incident on the reservoir,” said Daniel Brown, from the Lakes Branch of the Corps’ Wilmington Headquarters, commenting to Kerr Lake Park Watch.

In an updated story by Danville Register-Bee reporter Denice Thibodeau, “Barry Dunkley, director of water and wastewater treatment for Danville Utilities, said turbidity — the amount of solids present in water samples — has decreased dramatically since Sunday, when levels in incoming water reached 400 NTU (nephelometric turbidity units), to less than 100 NTU Wednesday.”

Danville continues to take tests on site, but other tests for heavy metals and such aren’t expected to be back from the State of Virginia until today.

Thibodeau’s report continued with, “As far away as Virginia Beach, there are concerns about the coal ash spill.  Dunkley said he has heard that the Dan River has turned ash gray as far as Buggs Island Lake. Thomas Leahy, director of public utilities for Virginia Beach, said that city’s officials took the precautionary step of turning off the pumps at Lake Gaston until the full effect of the spill can be determined.”

Amy Adams, North Carolina campaign coordinator with Appalachian Voices, shows her hand covered with wet coal ash from the Dan River swirling in the background (Yahoo-AP)

Response from the Roanoke River Basin Association was seemingly focused on future closings of coal ash ponds at utilities.  RRBA posted on its Facebook page, “ROANOKE RIVER BASIN ASSOCIATION REACTS TO THE COAL ASH DISASTER ON THE DAN RIVER – Roanoke River Basin Association is a 69 year old non-profit steward of the entire Roanoke system including the Dan River, the site of the recent coal ash release.

From the initial reports of this catastrophe the following are apparent:

1. Neither best practices and planning nor strict regulations can protect the public interest from spills, leaks, or releases of hazardous chemicals, uranium tailings, or similar detrimental materials.

2. Given the nature of material storage and the lack of sufficient funding for oversight, frequently these mishaps are underway days, and sometimes years, before anyone becomes aware.

3. Not only are public water supplies threatened by these mishaps, but so are tourism, fishing, and the water-related recreational efforts by Dan River Basin Association, Roanoke River Basin Association and other groups.

Thus, Roanoke River Basin Association fully supports Dan River Basin Association in its call for Duke Energy to “immediately and safely close out its coal and ash ponds.”

Kerr Lake Park Watch has been in touch with a number of state agencies in VA and NC as well as the Corps of Engineers to get a read on the (coal ash spill) #coalashspill impact on Kerr Lake, but at this time, there is still no clear indication as to what impacts, contamination or, at the very least, inconveniences Kerr Lake and its people may incur. 

Environmental groups are running rampant in blogs on the Internet about seeking legislation and rule changes to eliminate coal ash holding ponds or lagoons, but none to be found are engaging this particular Duke Power spillage from the standpoint of what can be expected downstream.

Waterkeeper Alliance – NYC posted this video showing the coal ash in the Dan River.

THE NC DENR staff created a web page where they will publicize the water sampling results as well as the most recent information about the coal ash spill. You can find the page at the department’s website at .

As information becomes available about the impact of the coal ash on Kerr Lake, KLPW will let our members and followers know on this block.  You can check for bulletins and quick updates on our Facebook page:

Posted in: KLPW - Environmental, KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - WATER RELATED

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