Deposits varying from 5 inches deep to less than 1 inch coated the river bottom across the state line into Virginia and to Kerr Lake, a major reservoir.

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Federal officials say toxic coal ash has coated the bottom of a North Carolina river up to 70 miles downstream of a Duke Energy dump where a massive spill occurred two weeks ago.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service advised Tuesday that a massive bar of coal ash about 75 feet long and as much as 5 feet deep has been detected on the bottom of the Dan River near the site of the Feb. 2 spill. Deposits varying from 5 inches deep to less than 1 inch coated the river bottom across the state line into Virginia and to Kerr Lake, a major reservoir.

Federal authorities are concerned the toxic contaminates will negatively affect mussels and fish. Public health officials have advised people to avoid contact with the water.

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