Duke Energy: Water quality not affected by coal ash release at Sutton Lake plant

Dam breach at Duke plant; coal ash could spill

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Water samples collected from various locations indicate that coal ash released from a landfill under construction during Hurricane Florence has not impacted water quality in Sutton Lake, according to a news release from Duke Energy Progress.

Officials say historic rainfall from Florence dumped more than 30 inches at the plant and caused several areas of significant erosion at the coal ash landfill.

About 2,000 cubic yards of soil and ash eroded from the landfill, enough to fill about two-thirds of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, officials say. Much of the material collected in a perimeter ditch around the landfill. Cleanup work is already underway, officials say.

In the midst of Florence, crews began water sample testing near the outfall to the Cape Fear River and initial tests indicate that the presence of coal ash constituents decreased as the water made its way to Sutton Lake, officials say.

Inspectors did find cenospheres in Sutton Lake, however, officials say sampling shows no evidence of coal ash impacting the lake of entering the river. Cenospheres are lightweight, hollow beads comprised primarily of alumina and silica that are a byproduct of coal combustion.

Officials say the sampling is consistent with recent data and water quality remains within state permit standards.

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