The Third Largest Coal Ash Spill

1447 Words Apr 12th, 2016 6 Pages
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). Coal ash ponds are storage impoundments created when a mixture of coal ash and water make a toxic lagoon that can seep into the surrounding groundwater (Whitney). Even one year after the Dan River disaster, reports show that more than three million gallons of seepage still leak from Duke Energy’s coal ponds near local rivers and lakes (“Duke Energy Coal”). In August 2014, North Carolina passed the Coal Ash Management Act requiring Duke Energy to shut down every one of its thirty-three coal ash ponds in the state. This legislation seems like a plausible solution for all parties involved, but the problem lies within the details. Ponds labeled with a low-risk classification are allowed to be capped, which means that all the water is evacuated…
Open Document