RALEIGH: Families appeal to lawmakers about dangers of coal ash - WRBL

Families take stories of cancer, birth defects to NC lawmakers

Posted: Updated:
Kim Brewer, who lives near Duke Energy's Buck Steam Station, said her daughter Ava was born with Chiari malformation. Kim Brewer, who lives near Duke Energy's Buck Steam Station, said her daughter Ava was born with Chiari malformation.
  • 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.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Settled just outside Duke Energy's Buck Steam Station in Salisbury is the town of Dukeville, where families live right beside its four coal ash ponds holding more than 6 million tons of ash.

"Our well is only a little over 400 feet from the ash pond," JoAnne Thomas said.

She and her husband Ron drove to Raleigh on Thursday to share with lawmakers what they say they've seen for years in their neighborhood.

"We've had dozens of people with brain tumors and most have died from it. It's very damaging," JoAnne explained.

The Waterkeeper Alliance tested the wells of families living around the coal ash pond and say they found elevated levels of hexavalent chromium, known to cause cancer.

  • Click Here to view Waterkeeper Alliance's sampling results

"I had a brain tumor," JoAnne shared. "Mine was a non-malignant brain tumor."

Ron added, "I've had prostate cancer, also I have heavy metals in my system."

And they are not alone.

"Our well at the time was the highest for hexavalent chromium," said neighbor Kim Brewer.

The mother of four has two daughters -- 3-year-old Laney and 5-year-old Ava -- who were both born with birth defects. Her other two children, who were not born in Dukeville, were born without birth defects.

"My middle daughter has Chiari malformation and then my youngest has spina bifida," Brewer said. She said she believes her daughters' conditions are tied directly to water contamination from coal ash.

"At first I kind of blamed myself, that was just my natural thing," Brewer said, "that I failed them as a parent. Then there was anger of course, and now it's time to protect."

Duke Energy, however, contends the drinking water in Dukeville is safe and "there is no concern for public health."

"It's always tragic to hear about health concerns, but there are a lot of reasons that cause health concerns and what we've seen from our data is it's not coming from our coal ash plant," said Jeff Brooks, spokesman for Duke Energy.

The families say they've given up on Duke Energy, and are now urging lawmakers to step in to get the coal ash cleaned up for good.

"None of these senators, or legislators, or even the Governor would want their children drinking water that has hexavalent chromium in it," Brewer said. "No community should have to go through this."

The community has asked for Duke to help install municipal water to their neighborhood. At this point, though, Duke said that is not an option.

"We've not seen any indication from our well sample that there's any issue with drinking water from those communities. So absent of any data to say otherwise, we don't see there’s an issue coming from the coal plant in this regard," Brooks said.

Duke Energy has agreed to re-test the wells with the Waterkeeper Alliance through an independent party and compare the results.

RELATED STORIES

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez is an investigative reporter and member of the WNCN Investigates team. His storytelling specialty is connecting the dots to get to the truth, with a goal of delivering results for our community. If you have something you’d like WNCN to investigate, contact Jonathan.

More>>

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Wilson community holds vigil for slain 7-year-old boy

    Wilson community holds vigil for slain 7-year-old boy

    Monday, July 28 2014 4:58 AM EDT2014-07-28 08:58:46 GMT
    Hundreds stood outside the Wilson County Courthouse on Sunday night to help a family grieve four days after 7-year-old Kamari Jones was shot and killed in his own home.
    Hundreds stood outside the Wilson County Courthouse on Sunday night to help a family grieve four days after 7-year-old Kamari Jones was shot and killed in his own home.
  • 2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:00:14 GMT
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
  • Stolen dinosaur replica returned to Raleigh museum

    Stolen dinosaur replica returned to Raleigh museum

    Monday, July 28 2014 12:13 PM EDT2014-07-28 16:13:16 GMT
    A model of a baby dinosaur that was stolen from the Museum of Natural Sciences has been returned to the museum, officials said at a news conference Monday.
    A model of a baby dinosaur that was stolen from the Museum of Natural Sciences has been returned to the museum, officials said at a news conference Monday.
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.