New Coal Ash Spill Caused by Hurricane Matthew
The flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew led to a coal ash spill in Wayne County. Despite coal ash being visible along the Neuse River, both State officials and Duke Energy officials are saying the spill was minimal. Environmentalists, however, strongly disagree noting tons of coal ash are sitting just below ground surface and in the river.
Harrison is a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance. He says with raging flood waters, and exposed coal ash near the river, it’s only common sense what happened, and if it’s not there is plenty of visual proof along the banks of the Neuse.
Along the river there is an obvious line on tree’s, branches, and in the water where Harrison says coal ash has leaked from the plant into the river.
“No idea how much washed out into the river,” he said.
But officials with Duke Energy say what you see in the water is not coal ash. Danielle Peoples, a spokesperson for Duke Energy, says it’s another part of the byproduct of burning coal known as “cenospheres”.
Cenospheres would have been in the same basins as the coal ash when the flood waters came through, and Peoples says about a pick-up truck bed worth of coal ash was found outside the basin, however she says Duke Energy as well as State officials have been testing the waters around the plant
“We really want people to feel confident that we are operating our facilities safely that we have taken steps to address issues that arose during the historic flooding,” said Peoples.
Duke Energy as tested the waters every day since the flooding, however they only tested from the shoreline of the Neuse River, and not gone into the water like Waterkeepers have.