Federal state officials probe coal ash spill North Carolinas Dan River

US, State Officials Probe Coal Ash Spill in North Carolina River

Duke Energy says the spill occurred Sunday, and that up to 82,000 tons of ash -- roughly the volume of 32 Olympic-size swimming pools -- was released from a break in a 48-inch storm water pipe at the Dan River Power Plant, which closed in 2012.

U.S. and North Carolina officials are investigating a spill of coal ash into the Dan River near Eden, N.C., according to reports from several news outlets.

Duke Energy says the spill occurred Sunday, and that up to 82,000 tons of ash -- roughly the volume of 32 Olympic-size swimming pools -- was released from a break in a 48-inch storm water pipe at the Dan River Power Plant, which closed in 2012. Duke officials say they have had some success stemming the spillage, according to Businessweek.

So far, there are no reports of contaminated drinking water in the area. Reports the Washington Post:

"Officials in Rockingham County and downstream in Danville, Va., have said there are no problems with their water supplies. … The [North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources] issued a statement saying that initial testing showed there was no deviation from normal levels for temperature, pH and dissolved oxygen because of the spill. Water samples were delivered to a lab in Raleigh for further testing."

The Waterkeeper Alliance and other environmental groups have been at odds with Duke Energy in the past over matters related the company's coal ash dump sites. Reports Businessweek:

"Environmental groups, some of which have sued Duke Energy over 14 coal ash dump sites in North Carolina, have sharply criticized the utility for waiting for a day before reporting the spill to the public and not immediately releasing information such as results of water quality tests on the river."

Read stories about the spill from the Washington Post, Businessweek, the Los Angeles Times, and CBS News.

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