Front Porch Blog

Dan River Update: Citizens Warned To Avoid Water Contaminated by Coal Ash Spill


The N.C. Department of Health issued an advisory on Wednesday, warning citizens not to touch the Dan River, which was contaminated with coal ash 10 days ago after a storm water pipe broke at Duke Energy’s retired plant in Eden, N.C. The Department of Health also advised residents not to eat fish or mussels from the river.

Duke still has not come out with a cleanup plan for the spill, which has left parts of the Dan River unsafe for recreational use, including swimming and fishing.

This is not the first time that coal ash from a Duke Energy power plant has caused serious damage to North Carolina’s fishing stock. A study conducted last November by Dr. Dennis Lemly, a research biologist at Wake Forest University, showed that fish populations in Lake Sutton, outside of Wilmington, N.C, were suffering as a result of selenium poisoning from coal ash discharges by Duke Energy’s Sutton Power Plant. The study estimated that 900,000 fish were dying each year from selenium poisoning. Lake Sutton is still zoned as a fishery.

Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds are a danger to human health, drinking water, and the precious rivers and lakes North Carolinians use for boating, swimming, and fishing. How many rivers and lakes must we lose before this company properly handles its pollution? It’s time for Duke to stop putting our waterways at risk and clean up their coal ash once and for all! Take action here.

A sunny-spirited North Carolinian with a passion for hiking, viola, ceramics and poetry, Sarah joined Appalachian Voices as our 2013-14 Americorps Education Outreach Associate and later served as our N.C. Coordinator working on coal ash cleanup and pipeline awareness from 2014-2016.


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