January 30, 2015 — MILTON, NC — Samples from the Dan River bottom in Milton, about 40 miles from the site of a massive coal ash spill one year ago, show a thick, gray layer of coal ash in the river’s sediment.
Representatives from Waterkeeper Alliance and Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation took the core samples in anticipation of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ water testing at a boat ramp northwest of Milton in Caswell County.
Duke Energy only retrieved about 7 percent of the 39,000 gallons of ash. That’s as it spilled into the Dan River last February. I mean so there’s no question that the other 93 percent remains in the river. That in part was said by Peter Harrison. For Peter is the staff attorney for Waterkeeper Alliance.
For even one year after the spill, there’s still a lingering danger to downstream communities. Especially since the contaminants remain in the sediment. Thereby exposing people and aquatic life to toxic heavy metals.
Long Term Impact
The spill’s long-term impact on the ecological health of the Dan River is unknown. There’s also concern over the potential harm to people as toxic heavy metals move up the food chain. This fish bioaccumulation study by researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories and the Tennessee Valley Authority showed elevated levels of arsenic and selenium in fish downstream of the Kingston coal ash spill in Tennessee. This study published in Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management showed that arsenic and selenium remained in river sediment at levels that impacted aquatic life after the Kingston spill.
For the entire story from Waterkeeper