The Third Largest Coal Ash Spill

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The third largest coal ash spill in United States history has left some citizens in North Carolina fearing their water is not safe to drink. This fear is a result of anywhere between 50,000 and 82,000 tons of coal ash and up to twenty-seven million gallons of contaminated water being dumped into the Dan River in Eden, North Carolina on February 2, 2014. The spill was caused by a busted storm drain pipe that ran under an unlined coal ash pond at Duke Energy’s Dan River Combined Cycle Station (“Duke Energy’s Grievous”). Coal ash is a byproduct of burning coal for energy and contains substances such as arsenic, lead, and mercury. These toxic chemicals are not only harmful to the environment but to the human population as well (Christian).…show more content…
Listed below are the proposed draft risk classifications for each facility in North Carolina as of December 2015. "Draft Proposed Impoundment Classifications." DEQ. 31 Dec. 2015. Web. 8 Apr. 2016. The coal ash that is buried underground still has the potential to seep into the neighboring water supply. Also, the high-risk ponds will not be evacuated until 2019 and the low-intermediate risk ponds as late as 2029. Subsequently, there will still be run-off from these ponds polluting fresh water for the time being (“House, Senate Approve”). This settlement is not a win for residents surrounding these impoundments. Preventing seepage from coal ash ponds and completely removing the coal ashes away from fresh water is the only way North Carolinians will feel safe about their drinking water, no matter the proposed risk classification. For instance, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) handed out a Clean Water Act permit to the Duke Energy Riverbend coal ash site on Mountain Island Lake on the Catawba River which supplies water for Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Mount Holly, and Gastonia. This pollution discharge permit is supposed to protect Mountain Island Lake from harmful coal ash pollution coming out of the Duke Energy 's Riverbend facility. In 2015, Duke Energy pleaded guilty to criminal coal ash pollution and was issued to remove the coal ash pond at Riverbend. The coal ash lagoons are scheduled to be
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