So far, initial reports indicate that Danville, Virginia’s (USA) water supply is reportedly safe from the toxic slurry of coal ash that had spilled into a river upstream four days earlier. But a lab analysis of Dan River’s water, conducted by Waterkeeper Alliance, show sobering findings. As opposed to “background” water tests Duke Energy allegedly collected, Waterkeeper’s analysis found the water immediately downstream of the spill with high levels of mercury, arsenic, lead, and other toxins.
Waterkeeper reported that the 0.129 mg/L for lead concentration alone is 50 times greater than the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommendation for wildlife and 1000 times the maximum for drinking water.
“Our sample crew on the Dan River today reports that there is still coal ash waste dripping out of the pipe,” Donna Lisenby, Global Coal Campaign Coordinator for Waterkeeper Alliance, said in a press release. “Waterkeeper Alliance is very concerned that neither Duke Energy nor government officials have released any heavy metal test results from the ash being discharged into the Dan River.”
Sunday afternoon, a storm pipe under a coal ash pond located between Danville, Virginia, and Eden, North Carolina ruptured. The toxic brew that covered the river looked like “lava” or gray sludge, eyewitnesses said. Since a security guard discovered the broken pipe, 82,000 tons of coal byproduct mixed with 27 million gallons of contaminated water have leaked into Dan River.
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