State Lifts Do Not Drink Advisories Near Duke Energy Coal Ash Sites

State Lifts Do Not Drink Advisories Near Duke Energy Coal Ash Sites

6:54pm Mar 09, 2016
Several residents who live near Duke Energy's the Belews Creek plant have expressed concerns about their drinking water. photo credit -- Keri Brown

State Health officials are lifting do not drink advisories for hundreds of North Carolinians who use well water and live near Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds. Residents will be notified this week.

Over the past year, samples have been collected at private wells near Duke Energy’s fourteen coal ash sites. It’s part of the Coal Ash Management Act, which was passed shortly after the Dan River spill two years ago.

Several of those wells tested positive for elevated levels of certain toxic metals that are found in coal ash.  The state put temporary do not drink advisories in response.

State health officials now say the water is safe and the levels of contaminants are similar to those found in municipal drinking water – some of which also are naturally occurring.

Brenda Lapeyrolerie lives close to a coal ash site in Stokes County. She says situation has scared a lot of people in her community and she still has concerns.

“Since 2007, my daughter and I have been drinking this water, cooking, bathing, showering and washing our clothes and dishes and now I’m concerned that there could be some major health issues as a result of it,” says Lapeyrolerie.

North Carolina is still determining well water standards for toxins like hexavalent chromium and vanadium.

 “We’re doing our due diligence and doing everything that we can to make sure that the advice that we give these people is the latest scientific data, it’s up to date, and it’s sound,” says Tom Reeder with the Department of Environmental Quality.

Duke Energy says it's not responsible for the contaminants. The company has supplied residents with bottled water.

The state will continue monitoring these coal ash sites and more testing will take place in the coming months.

 

*You can follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

 

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