DAN RIVER: NC admits mistake, says arsenic topped safe level - WRBL

NC admits mistake, says arsenic topped safe level

Posted: Updated:
Workers survey a coal ash spill in the Dan River. Workers survey a coal ash spill in the Dan River.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

North Carolina's environmental agency said Sunday it wrongly declared all test results for the arsenic levels in the Dan River as safe for people after a massive coal ash spill.

A water sample taken Monday, two days after the spill was discovered, was four times higher than the maximum level for people to have prolonged contact, such as swimming, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said.

"We made an honest mistake while interpreting the results," state Division of Water Resources director Tom Reeder said in a statement.

A water sample collected Tuesday showed arsenic levels that were considered safe for people, said Dianne Reid, head of environmental sciences for the water resources division. More recent test results for the week are not yet complete, she said in an interview Sunday.

State environmental officials released test results from the river this week showing readings for arsenic, lead and other toxic contaminates linked to coal ash, but said they were within safety limits for both people and fish. State regulators had taken those samples two miles downstream from the plant, rather than closer to the spill site where two environmental groups reported readings far exceeding safety standards.

Officials 20 miles downstream in Danville, Va., said they are successfully filtering arsenic, lead and other toxins from the drinking water supplied to the city's 43,000 residents.

Duke Energy said it permanently plugged the leak Saturday, six days after it was discovered. Duke says up to 82,000 tons of ash from a coal-burning power plant mixed with 27 million gallons of contaminated water escaped.

RELATED STORIES

  • Coal Ash SpillMore>>

  • Environment group says public 'mislead' to think Dan River is clean

    Environment group says public 'mislead' to think Dan River is clean

    Friday, July 18 2014 2:06 PM EDT2014-07-18 18:06:07 GMT
    Waterkeeper Alliance says photos show coal ash is still present in the Dan River. (Waterkeeper Alliance)Waterkeeper Alliance says photos show coal ash is still present in the Dan River. (Waterkeeper Alliance)
    Waterkeeper Alliance provided photos it says show deposits of coal ash still in the Dan River despite claims to the contrary.
    Waterkeeper Alliance provided photos it says show deposits of coal ash still in the Dan River despite claims to the contrary.
  • NC, Va. groups to monitor coal ash in Dan River

    NC, Va. groups to monitor coal ash in Dan River

    Friday, July 18 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-07-18 13:59:45 GMT
    A collapsed pipe at Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station dumped coal ash into the Dan River.A collapsed pipe at Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station dumped coal ash into the Dan River.
    Two water protection groups will continue to monitor the Dan River to identify coal ash from a massive spill in North Carolina that flowed into Virginia.
    Two water protection groups will continue to monitor the Dan River to identify coal ash from a massive spill in North Carolina that flowed into Virginia.
  • Feds: Duke Energy has finished moving coal ash from Dan River

    Feds: Duke Energy has finished moving coal ash from Dan River

    Thursday, July 17 2014 3:03 PM EDT2014-07-17 19:03:48 GMT
    Duke has dredged up about 2,500 tons of ash and contaminated sediment, as well as another 500 tons that had accumulated in settling tanks at downstream municipal water treatment plants.
    Duke has dredged up about 2,500 tons of ash and contaminated sediment, as well as another 500 tons that had accumulated in settling tanks at downstream municipal water treatment plants.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.