Published on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 by Common Dreams
Tens of Thousands of Tons of Coal Ash Spilling Into N.C. River
Duke Energy coal plant disaster sends arsenic, mercury, lead, boron and other toxic heavy metals pouring into Dan River
Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Image of the Dan River clouded with coal ash in Eden, North Carolina (Photo: Flickr / Appalachian Voices)Up to 82,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of polluted water have poured into North Carolina’s Dan River after a pipe burst beneath a coal ash pond owned by Duke Energy.

“The Dan River is very gray and ashy looking, incredibly dark,” Amy Adams of Appalachian Voices told Common Dreams as she stood at the river. “It looks like if you had mixed your run-of-the-mill campfire ash in a five-gallon bucket of water.”

According to the utility company, the incident occurred Sunday afternoon at the now-shuttered Dan River Steam Station in Eden, which was retired in 2012 and is now a dumping ground for ash left behind by burned coal. The company waited until Monday to announce the disaster to the public, infuriating local residents and environmental organizations.

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