Judge: Duke Must Clean Up Groundwater At Coal Ash Dumps

A North Carolina judge says Duke Energy must take immediate action to eliminate the source of groundwater pollution at its coal ash dumps.

Wake County Judge Paul Ridgeway's ruling comes a month after a massive coal ash spill from a Duke facility in Eden coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic gray sludge.

It stems from legal action taken by the Southern Environmental Law Center in 2012.

The group asked the Environmental Management Commission to force Duke to take immediate corrective action when groundwater problems were discovered at the state's 32 ash dumps.

But the commission ruled against the environmental group in December 2012 and they appealed the ruling.

The judge says state regulators failed to properly apply the law.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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North Carolina regulators have issued notice to Duke Energy that the company will be cited for environmental violations related to a massive coal ash spill that coated 70 miles of the Dan River with toxic sludge.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Friday that the two notices relate to separate violations of wastewater and storm-water regulations. The agency could levy fines against Duke for the violations, but the amount has not yet been determined.

The spill began Feb. 2 when an old pipe under a 27-acre coal ash dump at a Duke power plant in Eden collapsed. It took the company nearly a week to fully plug the leak. Public health officials have advised people to avoid contact with the river water and to not eat fish.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (AP) - For months, two South Carolina electricity providers have been working to remove millions of tons of coal ash from waste pits.

But just across the state line in North Carolina, top officials say this very type of ash-removal operation in South Carolina and other states could be dangerous. The worry in North Carolina comes after Duke Energy's massive coal ash spill coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge.

Experts say moving the toxic sludge is not risky. Coal ash dumped decades ago is often dug up and recycled to make concrete, asphalt and other building products.

About half of the more than 100 million tons of coal ash created each year in the United States is recycled.


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North Carolina officials say wastewater containing unsafe levels of arsenic from a Duke Energy coal ash dump is flowing into the Dan River, which is already contaminated from a massive Feb. 2 spill.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources ordered Duke Tuesday to stop the wastewater coming from a pipe running under a coal ash dump at its Eden power plant. A nearby pipe at the dump collapsed without warning two weeks ago, coating the river bottom with toxic ash as far as 70 miles downstream.

State regulators expressed concern the second pipe could fail, triggering another spill. Water coming from the pipe contains arsenic at levels 14 times that considered safe for human contact.

Duke had downplayed concerns water flowing from the pipe was contaminated.


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