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FILE - This Wednesday Feb. 5, 2014 file photo shows state and federal officials dock after collecting sediment samples as coal ash surfaces on the water on the Dan River in Danville, Va. A coal ash spill from a break in a 48-inch storm water pipe at the Dan River Power Plant in Eden N.C. on Sunday released up to 82,000 tons of ash according to Duke Energy. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Duke Energy’s ash pond has a leak

According to environmental groups, Duke Energy’s ash ponds at its Buck Steam Station are leaking into the Yadkin River and filling the water with coal ash contaminants.

John Suttles, a member of the Environmental Law Center, says the Yadkin Riverkeeper and the Waterkeeper Aliance organizations noticed discoloration in an estimated quarter-mile long area of the river’s bank, which sits alongside one of the ash ponds, in mid-November.

The groups found an orange-colored seepage in the water.  After testing, the results showed that the seepage had traces of arsenic, barium, cadmium selenium and other coal-ash contaminants.  The levels of the seepage are higher than what is allowed in surface waters or groundwater.

Suttles mentioned that water directly from the river was not tested, but the actual discolored material itself was.  He also explained it is proof that the ash ponds at Duke Energy are leaking into the river.  Neither Buck Steam Station, nor the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have reported any leaks from the ponds.

Suttles commented on the issue:

 We have been telling Duke and DENR and anyone who would listen that these unlined coal ash pits are leaking into groundwater and surface waters … This shows that exactly what we said was happening is happening.

Jamie Kritzer, a spokesman for DENR, stated that water samples from the area of the river the groups are claiming to be contaminated have been collected.  The samples have yet to be tested and there has not been any confirmed leaks from the ash ponds in the area.

To read the full article about Duke Energy’s leaking ash ponds by John Downey of the Charlotte Business Journal, click here.

In related news, Duke Energy official: Pipeline could expand.

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