50,000 Tons of Coal Ash Spill Into Dan River

EDEN, N.C. -- The Dan River is a little darker after more than 50,000 tons of coal ash leaked into the river.

READ: Officials Investigate Dan River Coal Ash Spill

That's enough ash to fill about 30 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Duke Energy found the leak on Sunday at Eden's Dan River Steam Station.

"Nobody is letting up until we understand what we are dealing with and work on a permanent solution," said Paige Sheehan, Duke Energy.

The leak is caused by a break in the stormwater pipe that runs under the ash basin.

Tens of thousands of tons of coal ash leaked into the river - and hasn't stopped.

"We want to see where the break is all about – we need to be able to look at it so we can determine the most appropriate engineering strategy so we can create a permanent fix," said Sheehan.

Duke Energy crews are putting a camera in the pipe, and digging around it to find the break. They're also testing water supplies downstream and planning out a long-term clean-up effort.

"We are very closely monitoring the environmental impact of this – the most important thing I can tell you is that downstream water supplies remain safe."

Duke Energy's coal ash does not belong in the Dan River," said Donna Lisenby."

Donna Lisenby works for the Water Keeper Alliance and is taking her own water samples. She says the long-term impacts of a spill like this are not yet known, and that has Jenny Edwards worried.

"We're quite concerned about potential toxic impact on the river," said Jenny Edwards, Dan River Basin Association.

"We're very concerned about the impact it could have on fish and wildlife."

Sheehan added, "The company's priority is to deal with the immediate situation and we're going to make everything right, it's what we do."

The EPA is monitoring Duke Energy and their progress in stopping this spill and will be around the clean-up too.

Despite the spill, there are currently no water restrictions in Rockingham County or downstream in Danville.


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