Feb 8 Workers on Saturday plugged a broken pipe
that leaked up to 82,000 tons of power plant coal ash into a
North Carolina river, Duke Energy Corp said.
Crews filled part of the stormwater pipe with concrete and
capped it, and the rest of the pipe will be filled with concrete
as well, said Duke, the biggest U.S. electric power provider.
"Plugging the pipe was clearly job one, but we're continuing
our efforts and working closely with all the agencies involved
in this response," Charlie Gates, senior vice president for
power generation operations, said in the statement.
Duke's next step is to keep monitoring water quality, he
The ash release was discovered on Sunday at the power plant
in Eden, North Carolina, which was retired in 2012. The company
said the pipe under a 27-acre (11-hectare) ash pond released
enough coal ash to fill between 20 and 32 Olympic-size swimming
An estimated 24 million to 27 million gallons (91 million to
102 million liters) of ash basin water also reached the river,
Before the pipe was sealed, Duke installed a catch basin and
pumps at its end to reduce outflow to the river. Samples by Duke
and the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources
show that water quality is improving, the company said.
Waterkeeper Alliance, a water advocacy group, said this week
that analysis of Dan River samples showed "extremely high
levels" of arsenic, chromium, iron, lead and other toxic metals
typically found in coal ash.
A Duke Energy spokesman has said tests by the utility and
North Carolina officials indicated no adverse impact on the