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Dan River back to normal state, EPA declares / July 21, 2014


Danville Register & Bee
Reprinted with permission

Water quality in the Dan River has returned to “normal,” according to Myles Bartos of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Bartos, who is charge of overseeing the coal ash cleanup project near the Schoolfield Dam, made his remarks Tuesday night to Danville City Council.

Bartos did point out that the Dan River has “historical” environmental quality issues — including lead, arsenic, selenium and PCBs — but that Duke Energy is not being required to clean them up since they were not responsible for creating them.

The Virginia Department of Health warning about the quantity of fish it is safe to eat from the Dan River remains the same as it was prior to the February coal ash spill at Duke Energy’s Dan River Steam Plant in Eden, North Carolina, Bartos said.

More than 600 water samples have been taken from the river since the spill, Bartos said, and all tests have shown consistently safe drinking water and a quick return to normal levels of various chemicals. He said the EPA will no longer be a daily presence in Danville, but that the state Department of Environmental Quality and Inland Game and Fisheries will continue taking their tests over time.

Davis Montgomery, Duke Energy’s district manager, said the dredges left Abreu-Grogan Park on Monday, along with other heavy equipment, after removing about 2,500 tons of coal ash near the Schoolfield Dam — and now cleanup of the park will begin.

Montgomery said gravel laid over the parking lot and grass will be removed; repairs will be made to the parking lot and new grass will be planted. He also said the company has been talking to city officials about improving the boat ramp and making fishing more accessible, particularly for the handicapped.

The company expects to turn the park back over to the city by July 30, Montgomery said.

Vice Mayor Gary Miller expressed concerns about further pipe leaks found recently at the Duke Energy site.

Montgomery said plans for cleaning up the entire site — dewatering the coal ash and moving it all to an approved containment site — are making the way through North Carolina legislature. He said he expects this site to be one of the first four that will be cleaned up.

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I am ready to go fishing now and eat my catch....NOT.

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