WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A local environmental group is at the forefront of a lawsuit against Duke Energy and coal ash pollution.
Cape Fear Riverkeeper along with six other conservation groups demand that Duke Energy take action and clean up coal ash pollution.
"You can take the lead and you can do the right thing," Kemp Burdette with Cape Fear Riverkeeper said. "You can clean these coal ash ponds up and you can take responsibility for what you have now which are a number of contaminated sites across the state."
Burdette says his group has evidence that confirms chemicals from coal ash are already in our local waters and the utility needs to do something about it.
"We see arsenic levels as high as 35 times higher than safe ground water standard. We see boron levels being very high. We see manganese and iron levels off the charts," Burdette said.
The issue lies with ground and surface water contamination, and Cape Fear Riverkeeper said they are focused on the impacts of coal ash ponds and getting them cleaned up.
"At some point you just need to do the right thing, and we're at that point now," Burdette said.
We reached out to Duke Energy for their comment on the lawsuit. Spokesperson Lisa Hoffmann said the utility is working towards environmental protection. Hoffmann said seven of the 14 coal plants have been retired, and officials are working to close the rest or change the way coal ash is handled.
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