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Case Summary: Duke Energy Agrees to $3 Million Cleanup for Coal Ash Release in the Dan River

On May 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entered into a $3 million cleanup agreement with Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC (Duke Energy) to address the February 2014 coal ash spill into the Dan River at Eden, N.C. The agreement requires Duke Energy to perform a comprehensive assessment to determine the location of coal ash deposits and to remove deposits along the Dan River at an estimated cost of $1 million. Additionally, Duke Energy will pay EPA $2 million in past and future response costs associated with the spill.

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“EPA will work with Duke Energy to ensure that cleanup at the site and affected areas is comprehensive based on sound scientific and ecological principles, complies with all federal and state environmental standards, and moves as quickly as possible. Protection of public health and safety remains a primary concern, along with the long-term ecological health of the Dan River." EPA Regional Administrator Heather McTeer Toney

Information about Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC

Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with electric generating capacity in the Carolinas, the Midwest, and Florida. Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company with over 150 years of operation.

Information about the Eden Ash Spill Site

On February 2, 2014, a release of coal ash into the Dan River occurred at the Dan River Steam Station (Duke Energy) north of Eden, N.C. creating the Eden Ash Spill Site. The Site extends approximately 70 miles downstream from the Dan River Steam Station. The Dan River watershed is home to two identified endangered species. Livestock has access to the river, and the river is used for crop irrigation. It is also a recreational water body used for subsistence fishing as well as canoeing and kayaking and is a source of drinking water to residents in North Carolina and Virginia. More information about EPA’s response to the release of coal ash in the Dan River.

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Pollutants and Environmental Effects

The coal ash that was released into the Dan River contains unburned carbon and various metals including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium and zinc. There have been no exceedances in human health screening in the surface water and sediment samples collected from the Kerr Reservoir for the contaminants of concern. Some coal ash will be left in place because of the risk of re-suspending previous polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and mercury contamination.

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Summary of the Administrative Order on Consent

The Administrative Order on Consent requires the development and implementation of a comprehensive removal site assessment and the removal and disposal of any remaining ash in the Dan River from the Steam Station release area to the Schoolfield Dam to the maximum extent possible. The AOC also requires the continued monitoring of surface water, drinking water, and sediment assessments.

Contact Information

For more information contact

Keith Weisinger
Associate Regional Counsel
Region 4
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
61 Forsyth St.
Atlanta, GA 30303

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