Monday, February 10, 2014

10 Duke Energy ash ponds labeled ‘high hazard potential' by EPA: Dan River ash pond didn't sustain structural failure, it did suffer a major leak / Eden NC Coal Ash Spill / UR Law report: Virginia waterways rank second worst in toxic pollution

WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC 40 west from Durham, at Graham /Burlington take 87 north to Eden, nc....when we get to eden on 87 there is the bridge over the dan where we can see the plant...we will have to investigate

So true but NC is throwing a fit:

On the banks of the Dan river...the coal ashe lingers in the water making the river completely gray...and a dirty ring all around the edges... and a little red ...slider turtle I pulled up out of the mud...had spots of ashe on his shell...looks kind of dead. What the effects will be on the environement and the people...Hope for the best...and hope the community will come together and speakout on the situation. This is their drinking water as well ss home to an abundance of wild life. Beautiful brown river is soot gray... most of the sludge has moved downstream... 82 thousand tons of coal ashe spilled into this river... It would be a really good thing to help get the word out...often it seems that community members are just not aware of how toxic their situation is...for what ever reason. But assuming that if they know...and if their is support from neighbors...they may have the mind to speakout and not sit. What can we do? What should we do?



10 Duke Energy ash ponds labeled ‘high hazard potential' by EPA
Posted: Feb 06, 2014 4:35 PM EST Updated: Feb 06, 2014 4:35 PM EST
By Brody O'Connell
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - While the investigation into the coal ash spill on the Dan River continues, the focus is already shifting south to Duke Energy's ash pond facilities surrounding the Charlotte area.

Thursday, February 6 2014 6:15 PM EST2014-02-06 23:15:50 GMTFeb 06, 2014 6:15 PM ESTFeb 06, 2014 6:15 PM EST

  • Canoe guide Brian Williams dipped his paddle downstream from where thousands of tons of coal ash has been spewing for days into the Dan River, turning the wooden blade flat to bring up a lump of gray sludge.
  • "We'll be looking at our ash handling situations at each of our plants," said Duke Energy Spokesman, Tom Williams. "We're doing it with a fresh eye and with lessons learned. If changes are warranted, which I expect there will be, we will be making those changes."
    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Duke Energy owns ten coal ash ponds in North Carolina with a "high hazard potential" rating.
    There are two ash ponds with a "high hazard potential" rating on Mountain Island Lake in Mount Holly. There is another one located in Belmont.
    "A ‘high hazard potential rating' indicates that a failure will probably cause loss of human life," according to the EPA website. "It merely allows dam safety and other officials to determine where significant damage or loss of life may occur if there is a structural failure."
    The EPA said, in 2012, Duke Energy's structures were safe.
    While the Dan River ash pond didn't sustain structural failure, it did suffer a major leak. And this is not Duke Energy's only recent pollution dispute.
    Last summer, the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation filed a lawsuit against Duke Energy for violating the Clean Water Act.
    The Catawba Riverkeeper said Duke Energy's coal ash lagoons have leaked into Mountain Island Lake at unsafe levels.
    Duke Energy disagrees, saying its facilities are safe and regularly monitored.
    "We have emergency response plans at all of our sites for anything that can happen," Williams said. "Whether it's a fire, we will work with local fire departments. You know, there are plans at each of the sites to address these things."
    Williams told WBTV Duke Energy's coal ash ponds have not tainted consumers' drinking water.

    Eden NC Coal Ash Spill
    Eden, NC - EPA Region IV
    NRC#: 1073018
    Site Photo

    Site Contact:
    Kevin Eichinger

    900 S. Edgewood RD.
    Eden, NC 27288
    Latitude: 36.4878601
    Longitude: -79.7189733

    KML | RSS | site map | area map | bookmark
    EPA North Carolina outpost OSC (On-Scene Coordinator) received a phone call from North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources at 4:45 pm on 2/3/2014 requesting assistance in responding to a coal ash pond release that occurred on 2/2/2014.

    The release of coal ash occurred at the Dan River Steam Station (Duke Energy) north of Eden, NC in Rockingham County. The estimated volume of ash released is between 50,000 tons and 82,000 tons. Also,approximately 27 million gallons of ash pond water waste released. The released ash and water was discharged to the Dan River. Attempts to secure release were reported to be unsuccessful. NC DENR requested an EPA presence for technical assistance.

    Given proximity to the spill site and the potential impact of VA waters, Region 4 requested crossover support from its backup Region (EPA Region 3). Per our request, Region 3 deployed OSC Chris Wagner to the scene (about 3 hours away). Kevin Eichinger and Jose Negron, R4, were deployed from Atlanta.

    A 48” slip-joint concrete and corrugated steel storm sewer line that runs under the ash pond failed. Coal ash and ash pond water flowed into the failed section of the line, and then to the Dan River. The estimated volume of ash released is between 50,000 tons and 82,000 tons. Ash samples indicated arsenic concentration at 44.3 mg/kg making arsenic one of the drivers for this response.

    UPDATE, 02/06/2014, 0645 hours.

    Five OSC’s from both Region 3 and Region 4 are currently on-scene and are embedded in a formalized Incident Command System and part of Unified Command. An EPA Environmental Response Team (ERT) Subject Mater Expert is on-scene assisting with mitigation plans for ash that has release into the Dan River. Region 4 Science and Ecological Support Division (SESD) is mobilizing and will conduct sediment sampling and release extent determination. A Community Involvement Coordinator will be on-scene to assist with developing and implementing a communication plan. To date, Duke Energy has mobilized sufficient resources and technical experts to effectively and safety stop the release of coal ash into the Dan River.

    Update, 02/07/2014 - See following for an update on the current situation:


    February 7, 2014


    On February 2, 2014, Duke Energy identified that coal ash and ash pond water were leaking from a broken storm water management line into the Dan River in Rockingham County, NC. Duke Energy notified the North Carolina Emergency Response Center on the evening of February 2, 2014. North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) was notified on February 3rd at roughly 8:00am and immediately dispatched staff to the site to conduct initial assessment and began surface water quality sampling. Following an initial assessment, NCDENR requested technical assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA Region 4 deployed two On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs) to the spill. A Region 3 OSC was also deployed due to the spill being adjacent to the Virginia border. Duke Energy made several attempts to plug the storm water management line, but due to head pressure the plug was not successful. Duke Energy continues attempts to repair the pipe with concrete, and has put controls in place to stop the ongoing release into the Dan River while permanent measures are implemented. A Unified Command has been established that includes the U.S. EPA, NCDENR, VA Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Duke Energy. EPA is providing oversight of the emergency response and technical expertise to effectively address the release.

    EPA will continue to oversee operations and monitor the water quality in the Dan River and inform the public of our findings through our website at and through additional information updates as results become validated and available. EPA, in coordination with the State of NC and the Commonwealth of VA, are developing plans to assess the ash that has been released in the Dan River and oversee Duke Energy’s actions to repair and assess the overall stability of the coal ash pond.
    EPA has sampling teams working collaboratively with Duke Energy, NCDENR, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Commonwealth of Virginia to collect water quality samples at drinking water treatment plant intakes, as well as surface waters along the Dan River. In addition, EPA and NCDENR are conducting sediment samples to help identify the elements in the ash and develop a plume model to determine the distribution of ash in the bottom of the river.

    No impacts to drinking water have been reported by either the Danville or South Boston facilities, or any other water treatment plants downstream of the South Boston facility.

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is providing technical assistance to address the natural resources at risk with technical resources such as contaminants specialists, endangered species biologists, and GIS/mapping experts.

     Contact Information  Angela Miller, EPA Region 4
    Community Involvement Coordinator (678) 575-8132
    Kevin Eichinger, EPA Region 4 Federal On-Scene Coordinator (404) 562-8268
    Myles Bartos, EPA Region 3 Federal On-Scene Coordinator (215) 814-3342
    Media representatives should contact: James Pinkney, US EPA Public Affairs Specialist (404) 562-9183

    Dawn Harris-Young, US EPA, Public Affairs Specialist (404) 562-8421
    For additional information and photos regarding this Site please visit:
    original_target=""> Law School | Web Update

    UR Law report: Virginia waterways rank second worst in toxic pollution

    Published: February 4, 2014, 9:51 am ET

    Collegian Reporter
    Virginia ranks second-worst in the nation for toxic chemical pollution in the state’s waterways, according to a recently published report by the University of Richmond School of Law.

    The report, titled “A Strategy to Protect Virginians from Toxic Chemicals,” was first published on the university’s website Jan. 15, 2014, under the Robert R. Merhige Jr. Center for Environmental Studies. It was written by Noah Sachs, professor of law and director of the Merhige Center, and Ryan Murphy, L ‘14.

    One of the principal recommendations of the report was for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to “enact strict limits on toxic chemical releases” and to “enforce existing laws requiring reporting by facilities that store toxic chemicals,”
    according to the report’s executive summary.

    The first recommendation was for the Virginia General Assembly to increase funding and personnel at the DEQ.

    The population can be exposed to toxic chemicals through land, water and air, but water pollution is a main concern in Virginia, Murphy said.

    “The waterways are significant because we do have so much water here [in Virginia],” he said. “We have some very iconic rivers—the James, the York.”

    Along with Virginia’s waterways overall being the second-worst in the nation after Indiana, the James River is also the ninth-worst waterway in the nation in terms of toxic pollution. The New River and the Roanoke River fall among the 20 worst waterways, being measured by “the amount of toxic chemicals discharged into them,” according to the report.

    The requirements for reporting toxic chemicals are not concrete laws across the nation, Murphy said.

    One goal of the report was to start a conversation about toxic chemical pollution, which Murphy said he felt was not discussed often enough in Virginia.

    “We talk about the [Chesapeake] Bay,” he said. “We talk about controlling air pollutants, but we don’t necessarily talk about the broader toxics policy that is overarching.”

    The report stemmed from a conference presentation Sachs gave over a year ago, he wrote in an email. He said he had decided to write a full report that identified the problems in the commonwealth and offered solutions.

    Murphy has been happy with the attention the report has received, and he hopes to continue the discourse and keep drawing attention to the topic by publishing future editorials, he said. Having taken multiple classes in the Merhige Center for Environmental Studies, Murphy said he believed he would specialize in environmental law after graduation.

    The reaction to the report has been very positive, Sachs said. He has been receiving emails and calls from people who want to get involved in the efforts to improve the state’s effectiveness when dealing with toxic chemicals.

    Sachs is currently in India on a Fulbright fellowship. He is based at the National Law School in Bangalore and is researching Indian climate change and energy legislation.
    Contact reporter Rebecca Wilson at