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EPA, river basin association seek input on ash spill
SoVaNow.com / April 14, 2014
The public has two opportunities to learn more about the cleanup of the Dan River following the Feb. 2 coal ash spill at Duke Energy’s Dan River Steam Station in Eden, N.C.
This afternoon, Monday April 14, representatives with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies will discuss upcoming dredging operations to clean up coal ash deposited near Danville’s Schoolfield Dam.
In addition to EPA, the session will include representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Department of Health, the City of Danville and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The open house event will be held at the Danville Community Market building located at 629 Craighead Street from 4 to 7 p.m. There will be no formal presentation, just a discussion of planning details for the upcoming work.
Next week, members of the Roanoke River Basin Association will meet on Thursday, April 24 in Henderson, N.C. at the Leslie Perry Library from 6 to 8 p.m. The RRBA is hosting the public meeting to demand that Duke Energy carry out a timely clean-up of the entire affected river system, not just the area around Danville.
The release from Eden was the third largest spill of coal ash in U S history and left coal ash deposits on a 70-mile stretch of riverbed from the spill site to Buggs Island Lake.
“We are joining forces and demand that Duke Energy implement an immediate, independently verified, comprehensive, exhaustive and timely clean-up of the entire affected river system, using a fleet of vacuum dredgers to speed up the process,” Deborah Ferruccio, a spokesman for the association, stated.
“Anything less would be discriminatory and would leave our region environmentally decimated and economically blighted. There is no time to waste. Already tourists are canceling summer plans to vacation upriver from the coal ash breach so the reputation of North Carolina and Virginia is already being adversely impacted. Perception can mean a lot.”
Ferruccio points out that while Duke Energy has finally begun to vacuum the coal ash pileup near Danville, she says there has been no talk of a comprehensive clean-up or of any emergency measures to capture the coal ash sediment at the end of the Dan River before it flows into Buggs Island (Kerr) Lake, where it spreads and disperses into legally acceptable levels, thereby minimizing Duke’s liability and costs.
She adds that legal maximum contaminant levels do not account for the dangers of incremental low doses of coal ash contamination, which accumulate in the habitat and can cause fish kills and other wildlife loss.
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