Quantcast

DAN RIVER: NC, Va. sign deal with Duke for Dan River cleanup - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

NC, Va. sign deal with Duke for Dan River cleanup

Posted: Updated:
A collapsed pipe at Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station dumped coal ash into the Dan River. A collapsed pipe at Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station dumped coal ash into the Dan River.
  • Coal Ash SpillMore>>

  • Environment group says public 'mislead' to think Dan River is clean

    Environment group says public 'mislead' to think Dan River is clean

    Friday, July 18 2014 2:06 PM EDT2014-07-18 18:06:07 GMT
    Waterkeeper Alliance says photos show coal ash is still present in the Dan River. (Waterkeeper Alliance)Waterkeeper Alliance says photos show coal ash is still present in the Dan River. (Waterkeeper Alliance)
    Waterkeeper Alliance provided photos it says show deposits of coal ash still in the Dan River despite claims to the contrary.
    Waterkeeper Alliance provided photos it says show deposits of coal ash still in the Dan River despite claims to the contrary.
  • NC, Va. groups to monitor coal ash in Dan River

    NC, Va. groups to monitor coal ash in Dan River

    Friday, July 18 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-07-18 13:59:45 GMT
    A collapsed pipe at Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station dumped coal ash into the Dan River.A collapsed pipe at Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station dumped coal ash into the Dan River.
    Two water protection groups will continue to monitor the Dan River to identify coal ash from a massive spill in North Carolina that flowed into Virginia.
    Two water protection groups will continue to monitor the Dan River to identify coal ash from a massive spill in North Carolina that flowed into Virginia.
  • Feds: Duke Energy has finished moving coal ash from Dan River

    Feds: Duke Energy has finished moving coal ash from Dan River

    Thursday, July 17 2014 3:03 PM EDT2014-07-17 19:03:48 GMT
    Duke has dredged up about 2,500 tons of ash and contaminated sediment, as well as another 500 tons that had accumulated in settling tanks at downstream municipal water treatment plants.
    Duke has dredged up about 2,500 tons of ash and contaminated sediment, as well as another 500 tons that had accumulated in settling tanks at downstream municipal water treatment plants.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Environmental and wildlife officials in North Carolina and Virginia signed an agreement with Duke Energy Monday for the cleanup of toxic coal ash from the Dan River, which flows through the two states.

The agreement requires Duke to pay any "reasonable" cost associated with the Feb. 2 spill at its power plant near Eden, which coated 70 miles of the river in gray sludge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also a party to the deal.

Duke signed a similar agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month.

The nation's largest electricity company has begun the task of vacuuming up large pockets of toxic ash that settled to the bottom of the river as far downstream as Danville, Virgina. Duke must also pay for the ongoing monitoring by government agencies of the spill's impact on aquatic life.

The agreement places no cap on what the company might be required to spend. Duke said in April that it had spent $15 million on containing the spill and the immediate aftermath. But it reiterated in a regulatory filing to investors on Monday that it is unable to predict future costs for the cleanup, new laws passed in the wake of the spill or any environmental fines that might be levied against the company.

N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources spokeswoman Susan Massengale said Monday that the agreement provides "a process that attempts to avoid lawsuits by the parties," but does not bar the states from filing suit if the company does not uphold its commitments.

"This is an important step in the process of returning, as closely as possible, the Dan River to the condition it was before the spill," Massengale said.

Recent testing of water samples from the river show the level of contamination decreased quickly after the spill as the ash and the toxic heavy metals it contains sank to the bottom. However, environmental officials say those contaminated sediments are churned back up into the water at time of high flow, such as after a big rainstorm.

The byproduct left behind when coal is burned to generate electricity, the ash contains numerous toxic substances, including arsenic, selenium, chromium, thallium, mercury and lead. Wildlife officials will be collecting tissue samples from fish in the Dan to monitor whether the contamination works its way up the food chain. Public health officials in both states have advised residents not to eat fish caught downstream of the spill site.

Towns downstream of the spill site that rely on the river for drinking water, including Danville and South Boston in Virginia, have successfully been filtering out the contamination from the treated water supplied to residents.

"This agreement represents a significant milestone in Duke Energy's ongoing efforts to restore and monitor the Dan River and surrounding environment," the company said in a written statement. "Duke Energy is fully committed to the river's long-term health and well-being."

The recent agreements do not resolve an ongoing criminal investigation into the spill and the close relationships between Duke executives and North Carolina politicians and regulators. Federal prosecutors issued at least 23 grand jury subpoenas after the spill to Duke and state officials.

North Carolina lawmakers are currently debating a bill about what to do with Duke's 33 ash dumps at 14 power plants in North Carolina, which are located along rivers and lakes that cities and towns rely on for drinking water. State environmental officials say all of Duke's unlined waste pits, which contain more than 100 million tons of ash, are contaminating groundwater.

Duke has agreed to remove all of its remaining ash at the Eden plant and three other sites, but wants to consider options for its other facilities that could include leaving the ash where it is, capped with plastic sheeting and a layer of soil. Duke has warned lawmakers it could cost as much as $10 billion if it is forced to remove its ash at all 14 sites in North Carolina, with the company's electricity customers footing most of the bill.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:58 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:58:35 GMT
    (WMC) - It was a story that made its rounds on social media. On a recent flight DeAngelo Williams, Mid-Southerner and running back for the Carolina Panthers, gave his first-class plane seat to a 77-year-old
    Family members are upset and hurt that their relative, James Wesley Bolden, is being called a liar and "a fake."
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:53 AM EDT2014-07-25 05:53:09 GMT
    The official Algerian news agency says an Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has disappeared from the radar.
    An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, the third major international aviation disaster in a week.
Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.