Environment
11:00 pm
Sun July 20, 2014

Environmentalists Not Satisfied As Dan River Cleanup Ends

Duke Energy announced last week that it has completed its cleanup of the Dan River following a massive coal ash spill in February.

On February 12, 2014, Duke Energy crewmen vacuum small area of toxic coal ash sludge from the Dan River.
Credit Duke Energy

The cleanup operation began May 6, and Duke Energy says that two-and-a-half tons of coal ash and river sediment were removed. The cleanup was monitored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but some environmental groups are unhappy with the result.

Frank Holleman is senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. He says too much of what was dumped into the Dan River is still there.

Holleman says prevention is the key to avoid future cleanups. He’d like to see the coal ash moved from their current storage ponds to safer, more durable pits away from the water.

Duke Energy is also halting its testing of drinking water samples after testing nearly 2,000 samples and finding the water quality to be safe. However, testing of the Dan River sediment, fish tissues and other biological samples will continue.