Water Contamination Near Duke Coal Ash Ponds


As part of the groundwater assessment being conducted in accordance with the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) requested that Duke Energy test all water supply wells within 1,000 feet of each of the utility’s 14 coal-fired facility boundaries. After the first round of testing, the State of North Carolina mailed out letters to residents living near coal ash ponds warning them not to drink their water, after tests showed elevated levels of toxic heavy metals.

According to the Associated Press, 152 out of 163 water wells tested within 1,000 feet of Duke Energy coal ash ponds failed to meet state standards for groundwater – a 93 percent rate of contamination. A large number of tests reportedly showed high levels of vanadium, lead, and hexavalent chromium. Many of these individuals were informed that follow up tests would need to be performed to rule out the possibility of other contaminants in their water.

Vanadium is a naturally occurring element, but high levels are often found in coal ash, and it’s classified as a possible carcinogenic. Exposure to Vanadium has the potential to harm your health. If ingested, vanadium may cause nausea, diarrhea, coughing, and stomach cramps. Other symptoms may include eye, throat irritation, metallic taste, eczema, wheezing, bronchitis and breathing difficulty. High levels of exposure may result in lung damage. Hexavalent Chromium is a naturally occurring element that is also found in coal ash. Hexavalent Chromium is a carcinogen and exposure may cause nasal irritation, breathing problems, stomach ulcers, stomach cancer, liver cancer, and lung cancer.

Wallace and Graham, P.A. is in the process of investigating the cause of the ground water contamination for residents around Duke Energy coal ash ponds in NC. We are also helping concerned residents get their wells tested for free. If you or someone that you love lives near a Duke Energy coal ash pond give us a call for a free consultation.

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