Appalachian Voices Water Quality Specialists on Site of N.C. Coal Ash Spill

Contact: Cat McCue, Communications Director, 434-293-6373

Eden, N.C. – A team of scientists from Appalachian Voices remains on-site of the Dan River coal ash spill, where they arrived last night when the spill was first reported, to sample the water for toxics such as arsenic, as well as other contaminants.

Two of the team will be in canoes today on the stretch of water from the point of discharge from Duke Energy’s retired coal-fired power plant to a few miles downstream, continuing to take water quality samples and photographs.

The team will be available for comment and to assist the press throughout the day:

Matt Wasson
Director of Programs, Ph.D. in Ecology from Cornell University
Matt will be stationed most of the day at Draper’s Landing boat launch near the Rt. 700 bridge south of Eden.

Amy Adams
N.C. Campaign Coordinator and former regional supervisor for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Eric Chance
Water Quality Specialist, B.S. in Forestry from Virginia Tech

Amy and Eric will be on the water for much of the day, and might be available to take the press out in the canoes.

Press are free to use these photographs, with attribution to “Appalachian Voices.” More will be added throughout the day.

“This is a massive disaster. For two miles downstream, the river is dark and thick, a milky gray. It’s just eerie. The ash has apparently reached about 20 miles downstream to Danville,” said Wasson.

“This spill illustrates why no coal ash ponds should be allowed to remain unlined,” Adams said. “Although Duke has started using dry ash storage in lined landfills at some of its sites, many active and retired coal plants still have wet coal ash storage in large impoundments without liners,” Adams said. “Add to that an aging system of stormwater collection pipes discharging directly to surface waters that provide drinking water downstream, and you have a recipe for disaster. It was just a matter of time.”