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Second leak at Dan coal plant
SoVaNow.com / February 17, 2014A second drainage pipe is leaking at the retired Dan River Steam Station in Eden, N.C., prompting North Carolina state officials to give Duke Energy 10 days to develop a plan to fix the problem.
The leak, coming on the heels of a Feb. 2 pipe break that released an estimated 82,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River — making it the third worst coal ash spill in U.S. history — has been detected inside a 36-inch stormwater pipe that runs underneath the steam station’s wastes holding pond. The first spill involved a similar, 48-inch reinforced concrete and corrugated metal pipe that broke and allowed coal ash and wastewater to escape into the river.
Officials say the newly-discovered second leak does not pose an imminent threat to the Dan, but they want Duke Energy to act quickly to fix the problem.
“We’re concerned about the leaks we see in the 36-inch pipe and want to prevent a second pipe failure,” said Tracy Davis, director of the N.C. Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources. “We’ve asked Duke to provide a schedule for developing a design and implementing that design to repair the pipe.”
The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has given Duke Energy 10 days to develop a schedule to fix a leaking pipe. The state agency sent Duke Energy a letter Friday afternoon informing them of the action.
DENR detected deficiencies in the 36-inch stormwater pipe after reviewing video taken inside the pipe by Duke Energy.
Also Friday afternoon, DENR began conducting water quality sampling where stormwater enters the pipe and where the pipe discharges into the Dan River. The agency said it would make the test results public as soon as they become available.
Also on Friday, the agency released another round of surface water test results that show mercury collected in the Dan River near the site of the coal ash spill meets safe water quality standards.
The state Division of Water Resources started conducting water quality sampling in the Dan River within hours of being notified of the coal ash spill. The recently completed tests were conducted on water samples collected Feb. 6 upstream and downstream of the coal ash spill at the Duke Energy power plant in Eden. The most recent results came from water collected in the Dan River upstream of the spill at N.C. Hwy. 14 and downstream at Draper’s Landing.
“While the most recent test results show mercury levels within safe water quality standards, we continue to be concerned for the long-term health of the Dan River,” said Tom Reeder, director of the N.C. Division of Water Resources. “The area of deepest concern continues to be the deposition of coal ash on the river bottom and its long-term effect on the aquatic environment.”
DENR further sampled water in the Dan River at a discharge outfall where citizens have expressed concerns about discharges and oddly colored rocks near the failed coal ash basin. The EPA previously investigated the outfall and determined that the accumulation was naturally occurring iron bacteria or iron residue, which left the rocks with an orange color.
Water from the river that has been treated by nearby municipal treatment facilities is safe to drink, downstream municipalities report. Days after the spill, water as far downstream as Kerr Lake was discolored by the spill, including where the Dan passes through South Boston.
CommentsCan you say caught? I guess we know now where the excess water in those holding ponds went when too much accumulated. But don't worry, your water is safe. As a matter of fact the water is so safe Virginia Beach stopped pumping.
- By Know anyone with cancer on 02 / 17 / 14
CommentsSome of us remember the ruckus when VB wanted to tap water from Lake Gaston, and everyone here was screaming blue murder to stop them from doing it.
Maybe you should disconnect from the electric power grid and live without your electric conveniences. Some of the radical enviro crowd I've dealt with actually advocate that...
And most of them I've dealt with have been complete domestic terrorists. The Greenpeace crowd that breached that powerplant near Asheville was charged with simple trespass. They should have been charged with a terrorist act, because their stated intent was to disrupt the electric grid in Western NC. You cannot reason with people like that.
- By powerhouse on 02 / 18 / 14
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