Clean-Up Underway After More Than 50,000 Tons Of Coal Ash Spill Into Dan River

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(WXII) Duke Energy officials confirmed the presence of arsenic in North Carolina's Dan River following an ongoing coal ash spill, but the company and environmental groups differ widely on how much.

Duke Energy said Thursday its results at least 2 miles downstream from the Dan River Steam Station in Eden showed traces of arsenic contamination, but at levels considered safe for both people and aquatic life.

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Workers at a Duke Energy power plant in North Carolina are scrambling to plug a hole at the bottom of a pond where toxic ash from the coal-fired plant is stored.

The leak was first discovered Sunday. An Associated Press reporter canoed the Dan River on Wednesday and saw gray sludge several inches deep coating the river banks for miles. Twenty miles downstream in Danville, Va., wary fishermen watched gray swirls in the water.

Environmental regulators in North Carolina say they are still awaiting test results to determine if there is any hazard to people or wildlife. Officials in Danville, Va., say they are successfully filtering out contaminates in the drinking water provided to the city.

Danville is located along the Virginia-North Carolina border.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)