NC officials want pipes at Duke plants probed

In this Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 photo, signs of coal ash swirl in the water in the Dan River in Danville, Va. Duke Energy estimates that up to 82,000 tons of coal ash has been released from a break in a 48-inch storm water pipe at the Dan River Power Plant in Eden N.C.Over the last year, environmental groups have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps. Each time, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has effectively halted the lawsuit by intervening at the last minute to assert its own authority to take enforcement action. In two cases, the state has proposed modest fines but no requirement that the nation’s largest electricity provider actually clean up the coal ash ponds. The third case is pending. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
In this Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 photo, signs of coal ash swirl in the water in the Dan River in Danville, Va. Duke Energy estimates that up to 82,000 tons of coal ash has been released from a break in a 48-inch storm water pipe at the Dan River Power Plant in Eden N.C.Over the last year, environmental groups have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps. Each time, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has effectively halted the lawsuit by intervening at the last minute to assert its own authority to take enforcement action. In two cases, the state has proposed modest fines but no requirement that the nation’s largest electricity provider actually clean up the coal ash ponds. The third case is pending. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina regulators are pressing Duke Energy to send robot cameras up drainage pipes at all of its coal ash dumps in the state following a big spill last month that left 70 miles of the Dan River coated in toxic sludge.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Wednesday it asked the company to take video from inside pipes at 14 facilities and to develop new emergency action plans in case of another disaster.

The massive Feb. 2 spill in Eden was triggered when a stormwater pipe running underneath a 27-acre coal ash dump collapsed.

Inspectors recently expressed concern about potentially contaminated water flowing from a heavily corroded pipe at another Duke plant adjacent to the Broad River. Coals ash contains hazardous chemicals including arsenic, lead and mercury.

 

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