Monday, May 19, 2014

Dan River Coal Ash Timeline

Coal ash spills from a stormwater pipe into the Dan River.

On Sunday, February 2, 2014 a stormwater pipe burst beneath a coal ash impoundment at Duke Energy’s retired Dan River Power Station near Eden, North Carolina. Duke Energy originally estimated that between 50,000 to 82,000 tons of coal ash and up to 27 million gallons of wastewater ran into the Dan River. The utility’s revised calculations halved the amount of spilled coal ash to 30,000-39,000 tons and 24 million gallons of wastewater. Even if the lower estimates are correct, that’s still 140,000 tons of toxic waste contaminating Dan River.

That amount of ash is enough to fill 20-32 Olympic-sized swimming pools, for comparison the Kingston TVA disaster dumped over 1 billion gallons of ash into the Clinch and Emory Rivers.
This page contains links to news articles, pictures, press releases, videos and other information concerning the Dan River disaster. If you have materials to add, please email them to

April 29, 2014

Danville Register and Bee: Danville set to hire attorney to pursue coal ash clean up

April 21, 2014

Roanoke Times: Coal ash spill effects unknown

April 18, 2014

WNCN News: NC State report says Dan River water safe for farm use
Triad Business Journal: Duke Energy tallies costs for Dan River spill

April 15, 2014

Danville Register & Bee: Duke Energy to take coal ash to NC landfill

April 13, 2014

Go Dan River: Better late than never? Perhaps so

April 11, 2014

News & Observer: Communities along Dan River demand quick cleanup

April 9, 2014

GoDanRiver: EPA to discuss river cleanup

April 3, 2014

News & Record: NC State Experts to OK Dan River water for farms

April 2, 2014

Triad Business Journal: Duke Energy CEO discussed Dan River spill at Charlotte Luncheon
NPR: Concerns linger for NC residents after coal ash spill

April 1, 2014

Go Dan River: River Cleaning Equipment Arrives in Danville

March 28, 2014

Huffington Post: Duke shareholders call on company’s board for coal ash spill investigation

March 27, 2014

TriplePundit: Towns impacts by Dan River coal ash spill continue to struggle

March 25, 2014

News & Record: Poll finds voters worried by coal ash, Dan River spill

March 24, 2014

Go Dan River: Farmers along Dan River worry about livelihood
WNCN: Lawyer hired by NC in spill probe represented Duke
The Gazette-Virginian: Ash spill costs top $12,722 locally, so far

March 23, 2014

WFMY: Picnic for the Dan River: Community rallies

March 22, 2014

News & Record: Dan River supporters rally in Eden
Danville Register & Bee: Environmental groups push Duke to clean up ash ponds at rally
Reidsville Review: People come out to support Dan River
News & Observer: Dan River coal ash pollution angers and worries Virginians
The Washington Post: Virginia city downriver from coal ash spill suffers

March 20, 2014

SACE: Dan River groups seek cleanup of Duke’s coal ash pollution
NC Policy Watch: Judge denies Duke’s request for stay on cleanup of coal ash

March 19, 2014

Roanoke Times: Risks to coal ash pipe apparently cast aside
Richmond Times-Dispatch: McAuliffe expects Duke Energy to pay for coal ash spill
WDBJ: Government biologists uncertain about coal ash effects on Dan River marine life
News & Advance: Keeping their eye on the ash spill

March 18, 2014

News & Advance: Vacuums to pull ash from Schoolfield dam
WRIC: Virginia governor expects Duke to pony up for coal ash spill
WSET: DEQ addresses city council and public on coal ash spill
Roanoke Times: Danville water on display for officials

March 17, 2014

Wall Street Journal: Coal spills stirs watchdog to act
News & Observer: Federal grand jury probe of DENR-Duke Energy relations begins Tuesday

March 16, 2014

LA Times: Duke Energy accused of mishandling more coal ash wastewater

March 14, 2014

Reuters: After North Carolina spill, coal ash ponds face extinction
NC News Service: Worry, coal ash continue to spread in Dan River community
News & Observer: DENR rejects Duke’s coal ash plans, amid accusations of leniency

March 13, 2014

Go Dan River: Duke: Cleanup at Dan River plant will take 2 years
Winston-Salem Journal: Democrats to push bill to move all coal ash
DENR’s response to Duke Energy letter on coal ash clean up plans
Duke Energy: Letter to DENR on coal ash clean up plans
Rachel Maddow: Cautious optimism on Duke coal ash clean up
Winston-Salem Journal: NC Democrats to push bill to move all coal ash
News & Observer: Emails show close ties between Duke, NC regulators
ABC: NC Utilities Chairman to testify in coal ash probe
News & Record: Duke Energy, NC too cozy over coal ash?
WRAL: Duke Energy vague on future of NC coal ash ponds
WNCN: NC Democrats to push bill to move all coal ash
WRAL: Internal emails show Duke Energy, DENR negotiating coal ash cleanup

March 12, 2014

Public Policy Polling: North Carolinians want Duke Energy to pay for cleanup
WRAL: Key lawmakers say coal ash cleanup should not raise rates
Charlotte Observer: McCrory criticizes attorney general for comments on coal ash cleanup

March 11, 2014

News & Observer: NC Utilities Commission records subpoenaed in coal ash probe

March 10, 2014

WRAL: Cooper says Duke should pay for clean up
WSOC: Residents outraged about possibility of paying for coal ash cleanup
News & Observer: McCrory: Duke Energy didn’t meet its responsibility in coal ash spill
Charlotte Observer: Duke’s coal ash plan needs to show urgency
San Francisco Chronicle: Virginia taking long-term review of NC coal ash spill
WBTV: Duke Energy customers: Don’t make us pay for coal ash cleanup
WRAL: McCrory: ‘Keep politics out’ of coal ash decision
Charlotte Observer: Lawmakers grilled on response to coal ash spill
News & Observer: Waiting to decide who should pay for ash pond cleanups

March 8, 2014

WRAL: Duke CEO: Customers will cover coal ash removal
The Citizen-Times: Disasters prompt new look at coal ash handling

March 7, 2014

Charlotte Observer: Cuts to DENR regulators jarring in wake of Dan River spill
NC DENR: Regulators release water quality test results from additional Dan River spill location
Charlotte Business Journal: Third pipe at Dan River plant leaking coal ash toxins, EPA says
Charlotte Business Journal: NC says no violation for third leaking pipe

March 6, 2014

NAACP to launch own investigation into Dan River spill
Charlotte Business Journal: Third pipe at Dan River plant leaking coal ash, EPA says
The Washington Post: Hazmat team finds coal ash in Dan River in VA
The Virginian Pilot: N.C. NAACP leader: Coal ash spill is disaster, sin
The Kansas City Star: Coal ash poses a risk to Charlotte region’s water supply
The Independent Weekly: NAACP to launch own investigation into Dan River spill
WDBJ: Lawmakers question state officials on effects of Dan River coal ash spill
WNCA: Judge rules Duke must take immediate action to eliminate sources of groundwater contamination at ash ponds
NC DENR Press Release: DENR cites Duke for dam deficiencies, requests repair schedule
March 5, 2014
Fusion Films: “Come Clean” Press Conference and Rally
Goldsboro News-Argus: Wayne on coal ash pond list
Fox 8: Dead mussels, clams piling up downstream of Dan River coal ash spill
U Need 2 Know Radio interview with Ulla Reeves of SACE
News & Observer: Duke discloses eight more corrugated metal pipes at coal-ash plants
NC DENR Press Release: State regulators to request plans, video of pipes at coal ash facilities and announce inspections
National Geographic: Unlined and Dangerous: Duke Energy’s 32 coal ash ponds in North Carolina pose a threat to groundwater
Salon: Meet the environmental “regulator” who hates science: John Skvarla’s coal ash mess
News & Record: ‘Coal Ash Wednesday’ adherents to protest Dan spill
Charlotte Business Journal: Gov. McCrory: Duke Energy was ‘not responsible’ with plant oversight
WGHP: Dead mussels, clams piling up downstream of Dan River coal ash spill

March 4, 2014

Star News: Editorial-Coal ash incident raises questions about DENR’s record
WSET: After coal ash spill, bottled water sales increase in Danville
WRAL: Emails: NC regulators knew for years Duke power plants lacked permits
Charlotte Business Journal: NC regulators inspect leak at Duke Energy’s Cliffside plant

March 3, 2014

Charlotte Business Journal: State, feds, Duke say new tests at Dan River not ready for release
News & Record: DRBA calls on Duke Energy to move ash ponds
WRAL: One in four residents say they don’t know about NC coal ash spill
NY Times: Utility cited for violating pollution law in North Carolina
News & Observer: Regulators frustrated at slow pace of Duke coal ash stormwater controls
Charlotte Business Journal: NC finds Duke Energy violated water regulations in spill, threatens fines
The Daily Reflector: Where is the coal ash task force? On The Record: “This is not a partisan issue”, Interviews with DENR Secretary John Skvarla, Southern Environmental Center Attorney Frank Holleman

March 2, 2014 Breaking the silence, McCrory discusses career with Duke
Institute for Southern Studies: While Duke Energy dodges taxes, its pollution costs the public dearly

March 1, 2014

Charlotte Observer: Dams, and questions, separate coal ash from water supply
Asheville Citizen-Times: Why can’t Duke Power do the right thing?
Asheville Citizen-Times: Pipe at WNC coal ash dump is leaking

February 28, 2014

Carolina Public Press: DENR releases latest post-spill water quality tests of the Dan River
Ring of Fire: Federal Prosecutors Widen Investigation in NC Coal Ash Spill
WRAL: DENR chief, environmental lawyer go toe to toe over NC’s coal ash problems
The Gazette-Virginian: Coal ash spill costs authority over $10,000 so far
The New York Times: Coal ash spill shows how a watchdog was defanged
Washington Post: As NC debates, other states empty coal ash dumps
NC Public Radio: Were there any changes in coal ash clean-up after other disasters in the U.S.?
Radio Clip: Here and now: Looking to Tennessee after NC coal ash spill
Asheville Citizen-Times: Pipe at WNC coal ash dump is leaking

February 27, 2014

WRAL: Researcher: $70M starting point for coal ash spill impact on NC economy
The Columbus Dispatch: Lack of national coal ash rules stirs action
News & Record: State: Aluminum level is still too high in Dan River
WSET: Tennessee lawyer offers services to those affected by coal ash
Charlotte Business Journal: Duke Energy haltingly resumes Dan River cleanup
Power: Dan River ash spill may spur tougher state oversight, EPA rules
Seattlepi: Pollution panel weighing new rules for coal ash

February 26, 2014

News & Observer: McCrory needs to make a full response to coal ash questions
CNN: State warns residents near coal ash spill to avoid fish, contact with river water
Wake Forest: Drones show new view of Duke Energy coal ash spill
McClatchy DC: Lack of coal waste oversight is under fire after giant spill

February 25, 2014

Charlotte Observer, Opinion: Right answer on coal ash spill not hard, gov
Associated Press: Drone used to estimate size of NC coal ash spill
News & Observer: McCrory: Move coal ash ponds away from rivers
NC Capital: Hagan says coal ash issue needs study
Gazette-Virginia: Tough crowd asks tough questions on coal ash
WRAL: N.C. environmental regulators say they may reinstate coal ash deal with Duke
DENR Press Release: State environmental agency considers requiring Duke Energy to move coal ash from Dan River site
Charlotte Observer: McCrory to Duke: Move ash away from water
News & Observer: NC officials examine notification delay in coal ash spill on Dan River
Jacksonville Daily News: Seek accountability for environment
Sierra Club: A powerful day in Charlotte

February 24, 2014

The Diane Rehm show: Toxic chemical spills in West Virginia and North Carolina
NC Public Radio: Coal ash lawsuits: A history
National Geographic News Watch: Jobs go first, then recreation? Duke Energy’s NC coal ash spill spoils the garden in Eden
WSET-TV: NC lawyer claims coal ash spill could have been prevented
High Point Enterprise: McCrory disapproval up in latest HPU poll Danville City Council heads to NC to look at coal ash dump site

February 23, 2014

Greensboro News & Record: Researcher: Spill cost likely starts at $70 million Get in front of the ash spill now
Greensboro News Record: Businesses worried spill will hurt them
Daily Advance, Opinion: Chris Fitzsimon: State is in no rush to clean up leaking coal ash ponds

February 22, 2014

News & Observer: Coal ash spill could push NC to move more aggressively on environmental threats
News & Observer: DENR actions on coal ash raise questions
Associated press: Coal ash dumps threaten community
Huffington Post: After Coal Ash Spill, Communities Worry About Threat To Health, Water Supply

February 21, 2014

How Many Toxic Spills Will it Take Before We Put Drinking Water First?
Greensboro News & Record: Editorial: Move ash ponds
News & Observer: Federal case looking at Duke Energy and state regulators begins to unfold
Ask Gov. McCrory about Duke Energy
NBC: Virginia Residents demand coal ash clean up
The Maddow Blog: Meet McCrory’s top environmental official
Greensboro News & Record: Dan River’s aluminum, iron levels still high; 2nd pipe plugged
My Fox 8: Dan River coal ash spill hurting Rockingham Co. businesses

February 20, 2014

Public News Service: Dan River Coal-Ash Spill Opens Floodgates of Concern
Institute for Southern Studies: How ALEC helped Duke Energy block stricter coal ash rules
NPR: Toxic Leak Taints North Carolina Coal Plants, And Regulators
GoDanRiver: What’s in the fish?

February 19, 2013

Fox News: Second pipe leaking toxic waste at NC coal ash dump
CBS News: Officials: Unsafe levels of arsenic from Duke Energy coal ash dump pouring into river
WRAL: Feds expanding coal ash probe
Charlotte Observer: More subpoenas issued over Duke Energy’s ash
Charlotte Observer: Duke Energy turns profit of nearly $3B
Charlotte Business Journal: Tense press conference leaves questions about NC’s coal ash enforcement unanswered
Reuters: North Carolina defends coal ash oversight after second leak
WRAL: Expert: Concerns about moving ash are ‘pure speculation’
Winston Salem Journal: Transcripts contradict DENR head’s comments on conservation groups
News & Observer: DENR head defends agency over pollution enforcement as federal probe widens

February 18, 2014

News & Observer: NC regulators, Duke assure NC lawmakers coal ash spill poses no immediate threat to health
ABC News: NC Gov. McCrory Briefed on Duke Coal Ash Lawsuit
Winston Salem Journal: McCrory comment signals major policy shift on coal ash
Institute for Southern Studies: Duke Energy’s inside connections to the McCrory administration
WRAL: Coal ash lines river 70 miles from NC spill site
US Fish and Wildlife Service responds to coal ash release to the Dan River in North Carolina and Virginia
WGHP: DENR orders Duke Energy to halt discharges from second pipe under coal ash basin
Charlotte Observer: Duke: Customers won’t pay for ash cleanup

February 17, 2014

Lexington Herald-Leader: Recent events show need for strong regulation of polluters
WNCN: Environmental commission to review coal ash spill
Charlotte Observer: Sharp exchanges spice state meeting on coal ash
Water in America: Is It Safe to Drink?
PBS News Hour: North Carolina coal ash spill raises questions about enforcement of environmental regulations
News & Record: 2nd pipe threatens new Dan River spill, McCrory says
Raleigh News & Observer: DENR fights images as too cozy with Duke Energy

February 16, 2014

Winston-Salem Journal: Lack of action on DENR lawsuit may have prompted federal intervention in coal-ash spill
New York Times: Regulatory Favoritism in North Carolina
News Observer: A federal probe of the coal ash spill will be enlightening
Ecowatch: Time to Hold Duke Energy Accountable for Dangerous Coal Ash Impoundments to Prevent Next Spill
Duke Energy: 2nd leaking pipe at coal ash dump no danger
Fayetteville Observer: Our view: Spill, probe spell right time to pressure Duke
Go Dan River: Danville Mayor not taking spill lightly
Associated Press: Governor denies link to coal ash deal despite Duke ties

February 15, 2014

Charlotte Observer: NC lawmakers push Duke to clean up coal ash dumps

February 14, 2014

Star Tribune: NC officials fear 2nd pipe collapse at Duke plant
The Washington Post: McCrory denies Duke coal ash deal involvement
Living on Earth: Cleaning up coal ash McCrory on defensive over coal ash spill
Hendersonville Lightning: Apodaca ‘dead serious’ about killing coal ash ponds Feds urge residents to report dead wildlife
SACE blog: No more sweetheart coal ash deals

February 13, 2014

Star Tribune: Feds launch probe of NC environmental agency in wake of massive coal ash spill
Grand jury subpoena and other documents related to federal investigation of suspected felony
Waterkeeper Alliance press release: Duke ash pond still dumping while Duke begins ash removal from river
Go Dan River: What happens when the river floods?
Go Dan River: Resident reports dead turtles, missing wildlife

February 12, 2014

WRAL: State issues Dan River warnings after coal ash spill
Charlotte Business Journal: Duke Energy halves its estimate of how much coal ash spilled into Dan River
Winston-Salem Journal: Editorial: Duke Energy, legislature must remove environmental threat
News & Record: EPA to investigate group’s claim on Dan River pollution

February 11, 2014

Washington Post: Duke plans to dredge river as coal ash deal dumped NC lawmakers to push legislation for coal ash cleanup
Charlotte Observer: State to create coal ash task force
Star News Editorial: McCrory needs to prove that he can stand up to industries that pollute
Huffington Post: Enough is enough: Coal pollution spills reveal a water safety crisis

February 10, 2014

ThinkProgress: Could The EPA Have Prevented Toxic Waste From Filling The Dan River?
Charlotte Business Journal: Dan River cleanup to start at large coal ash deposit near spill site
Mother Jones: North Carolina Protected Duke Energy from Pollution Complaints Before the Company’s Coal Ash Disaster
Earthjustice blog: East of Eden: NC toxic coal ash spill defies state borders

February 9, 2014

The Washington Post: NC regulators shielded Duke’s coal ash pollution
NCDENR press release: State regulators clarify reports on arsenic test results near coal ash spill
Asheville Citizen-Times: Coal ash disaster: could it happen here?
Go Dan River: Danville Riverwalk Trail users want Dan River cleanup to begin

February 8, 2014

Charlotte Business Journal: NC now says Dan River arsenic levels were unsafe after spill

February 7, 2014

Associated Press: Test results show different arsenic levels in NC spill
Aljazeera: Environmentalists say N.C. river is ‘toxic soup’ after coal ash spill
Duke Energy press release: Duke Energy pledges to take care of Dan River and surrounding environment

February 6, 2014

Charlotte Observer: Getting ahead of the next coal ash leak
Charlotte Observer: Broken pipe was metal not concrete
DENR Press release: DENR expects water sampling results from river near coal ash spill this week
Charlotte Business Journal: Duke Energy will change coal ash storage at Dan River and other retired plants
Bloomberg Business Week: Big Coal’s Ash Mess Follows Its Chemical Spill. Is This Some Kind of Bad Joke?
ABC News: NC River Turns to Gray Sludge After Coal Ash Spill
Bloomberg News: Duke Energy battles to halt coal ash
The News & Advance: Coal ash: It’s still leaking
Weather Channel: Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill in North Carolina Pollutes Dan River, Threatens Drinking Water for Virginia Town
Waterkeeper Press Release: Waterkeepers’ samples show disturbing levels of metals and other contaminants in Dan River
DENR Press Release: Governor McCrory Directs Duke Energy to Bring Coal Ash Spill Under Control
Salon: “You can’t clean this up”: Coal ash is destroying a North Carolina river
The New York Times: Huge leak of coal ash slows at NC power plant

February 5, 2014

Lynchburg News Advance: Dan River runs gray with coal ash
The Washington Post: Officials investigate news in Eden
Hampton Roads, VA local news: Municipalities downstream of Eden cut off water intakes from Dan River
The Virginian-Pilot: Virginia Beach halts water pumping after coal ash spill
Los Angeles Times: Tons of coal ash spill into North Carolina river
CBS Money Watch: NC coal ash spill draws new focus to controversial industrial waste

February 4, 2014

Duke Energy Press Release: Work continues at Dan River Steam Station
Charlotte Observer: Duke Energy plant reports coal ash spill
NC DENR Press Release: DENR Secretary Skvarla heading to Eden, as agency staff members work with Duke Energy to control coal ash spill
NC DENR Press Release: DENR releases initial water test results from Duke Energy coal ash spill
Ecowatch Blog: Duke Energy coal ash spill pollutes river and threatens drinking water
Coal Ash Chronicles: Yet another coal ash spill
Salon: Up to 82,000 tons of toxic coal ash spilled into river
SACE Blog: Dan River coal ash disaster near Eden, North Carolina
Appalachian Voices Blog: Duke Energy coal ash spill pollutes the Dan River
Associated Press: Broken pipe spills coal ash in Dan River NC Coal ash still leaking into the Dan River
NBC Charlotte: Duke yet to plug leak at Dan River
Green Peace Blog: Duke Energy told us their coal ash ponds were safe
Sierra Club Press Release: Duke Energy, come clean about ongoing Dan River coal ash spill

February 3, 2014

Duke Energy Press Release: Pipe break causes ash release at Dan River steam station
Duke Energy Press Release: Work continues at Dan River Steam Station
NC DENR Press Release: DENR staff working with utility at site of Dan River spill in Rockingham County
Charlotte Business Journal: Coal ash spills into Dan River from closed Duke Energy plant Danville officials do not foresee any issues with city’s drinking water
Press Release: Environmental groups call for immediate disclosure of magnitude of coal ash disaster

Photos and Videos

NC DENR video of second leaking pipe at Dan River
Register for NC Policy Watch luncheon: Duke’s Dan River coal ash disaster
Rachel Maddow Show Feb. 10, 2014: Warnings ignored ahead of toxic NC spill
Rachel Maddow Show Feb. 13, 2014: Subpoena looks for dirty deal in toxic spill
Rachel Maddow Show Feb. 15, 2014: Toxic spill exposes NC tea party governor’s corrupt energy company ties
Rachel Maddow Show Feb. 19, 2014: Part 1: Toxic spill questions overwhelm NC officials
Rachel Maddow Show Feb. 19, 2014: Spoiled river puts NC officials in hot water
Rachel Maddow Show Mar. 20, 2014: Duke Energy busted after activists’ red flag
Full video of Feb. 17, 2014 Environmental Resource Committee meeting (Coal ash portion begins at 1:26:00 on this video)
Democracy Now: NC governor no longer works for Duke Energy, but after coal ash spill is he doing their bidding?
Announcement: EPA community update in Danville on Tuesday, 2/11/14

WTVD: McCrory talks tough on coal ash spill cleanup
WGHP: Coal ash expert discusses consequences of Dan River spill
NC Policy Watch: Appalachian Voices’ Amy Adams and State Rep. Pricey Harrison
Appalachian Voices photos
Duke Energy photos
Waterkeeper Alliance video
Catawba Riverkeeper photos
Unedited aerial footage of plume traveling down river, coal ash impoundments
Greenpeace photos
Video: Impact on wildlife from Eden coal ash spill unknown

Political cartoons

Charlotte Observer Siers Cartoons: Coal ash harmony, Coal Ash Safety, Coal Ash Harmony, NC Coal Ash, Coal Ash Twins, (Coal) Ash Can, Duke and DENR
American Association of Editorial Cartoonists Duke coal ash cartoons

Other Resources

NC Coastal Federation: DENR moves to block groups in lawsuit
Yadkin Riverkeeper spill updates, interview with DENR spokesperson Susan Massengale
Institute for Southern Studies Indes: Duke Energy coal ash spill latest in ongoing regulatory disaster
Catawba Riverkeeper Dan River coal ash spill page
For the latest updates, follow us on Twitter, or search for #coalash on Twitter
NC Conservation Network: Demand action from NC Governor and state representatives
EPA Map of sampling locations
Dixie Babble Blog: Historical importance of the Dan River