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Tests show arsenic levels above standard in Dan River spill

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources reported Friday all but four of the 34 water quality parameters analyzed near the coal ash spill in the Dan River met regulated levels safe for human and aquatic life.

DENR said the result's show exceedances of regulated surface water standards for copper, iron and aluminum upstream and downstream of the spill, but those exceedances were far greater downstream than upstream.

Arsenic levels in samples taken Monday and Tuesday exceeded a state standard for surface water quality, DENR reported. But levels of arsenic decreased at two downstream sampling points between Monday and Tuesday morning.

"This analysis is the first step in a process to accurately characterize any impacts from the spill to the Dan River and determine appropriate action going forward," said Tom Reeder, director of the N.C. Division of Water Resources. "We hope to see these levels continue to decrease as mitigation efforts progress."

DENR staff started collecting sediment samples from the bottom of the Dan River at the site of the spill, the department said.

The results of these tests will be released when available, according to DENR.

On Friday, DENR staff continued their ongoing water quality sampling upstream and downstream of the spill and started collecting sediment samples from the bottom of the Dan River at the site of the spill. The state agency will be releasing results of tests conducted in the wake of the spill as they are available.

For more information about the coal ash spill, visit DENR's home page, www.ncdenr.gov and click on the "Dan River Spill" tab.

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