Coal ash from Duke Energy raises questions about well water

Charlotte ObserverDecember 4, 2009 

As Duke Energy spends heavily to control the coal ash stored at its power plants, millions of tons of the potentially toxic byproduct lie unchecked across the Charlotte region.

Duke plans to spend $140 million in the Carolinas - $365 million company-wide - by 2013 on protective caps and liners at its ash landfills, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The liners are intended to keep ash that is laden with arsenic, mercury and other metals from contaminating groundwater.

But 2.7 million tons of Duke's ash, used to fill gullies, level roadbeds and prepare building foundations, was deposited between 1992 and 2003 without the protective measures now required at landfills.

Experts say large ash deposits near drinking-water wells bear watching. Duke had to shut down an old ash landfill at its Belews Creek plant in Stokes County last year after groundwater samples repeatedly broke state safety standards. Duke has also recently detected tainted groundwater near its power plant basins that hold a slurry of ash and water.

Read the complete story at

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service