Dan River Response
On Feb. 2, 2014, a storm water pipe under an ash basin at the retired Dan River coal plant failed and released up to 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River. We quickly mobilized a team to stop the leak and care for the river. We have permanently plugged the 36-inch and 48-inch storm water pipes. Public drinking water remained safe throughout the incident. Ongoing water sampling demonstrated the Dan River has returned to pre-event surface water quality conditions.
We remain committed to the Dan River and the communities it serves, and will work to keep the river a thriving resource for years to come.
What we are doing
- Under the direction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and various state and federal agencies, we removed ash from deposits below the plant, at Schoolfield Dam and other downstream locations. We continue to work with EPA and other agencies to monitor the river and, where appropriate, remove coal ash deposits.
- Long-term monitoring activities include sediment, fish tissue and other biological sampling at multiple points along the river. Duke Energy previously conducted nearly 2,000 surface and drinking water samples along the Dan River.
- We have commissioned several studies to examine any long-term impacts of the spill on agriculture and aquatic life, and to better evaluate how sediment is transported in the river.
- Work is underway with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as our environmental regulators in North Carolina and Virginia, to assess the impact of the spill on the Dan River basin and to take steps to restore and monitor the Dan River and surrounding environment.
- On Sept. 24, 2014, Duke Energy launched the Water Resources Fund, a $10 million shareholder-funded program to assist communities, organizations and programs in the Carolinas. The fund has designated at least $1.5 million specifically for the Dan River region.
- Our employees have participated in several volunteer activities in Dan River communities, including park enhancements, greenway maintenance and landscaping.
- As of September 2014, Duke Energy has spent approximately $20 million dollars on its response efforts on the Dan River.
- We remain committed to our pledge that our customers will not pay for costs associated with our response to the spill.
Learn more about coal ash, protecting public health and safety and Duke Energy's ash management plans.
Have questions or concerns about the Dan River ash release?
Duke Energy removes coal ash from
the Dan River
“We remain committed to assuring the long-term health of the Dan River and the communities it serves.” ■ Paul Newton — North Carolina President, Duke Energy
Ongoing river sampling
Extensive sampling indicated that public drinking water remained safe throughout the event. In addition, testing by the state of North Carolina, EPA and Duke Energy demonstrates that the water quality in the Dan River returned to normal levels a few days following the release.
We will continue to sample sediment along the river and monitor any remaining coal ash deposits that we find. Teams have also been conducting long-term monitoring of aquatic life in the river system. Monitoring programs in the Dan River and Roanoke River basins include fish community assessments, fish tissue analysis, mussel surveys and other important samples.
The state and EPA have communicated that private wells remain safe following the release. Residents who have questions about the company's response or issues related to water quality or coal may call 800.265.6518. We will take your contact information and get back in touch with details.
River studies and advisories
Duke Energy has funded three additional studies related to agricultural and aquatic health, as well as modeling to better understand sediment movement in the Dan River over time.
Additional information and updates
- Fact sheet issued by government agencies on Dan River natural resources agreement with Duke Energy (June 9, 2014)
- Dan River natural resources agreement between Duke Energy, three government agencies (June 9, 2014)
- Duke Energy-U.S. EPA agreement on cleanup of Dan River coal ash release (May 22, 2014)
- Transcript of Duke Energy testimony before the N.C. Environmental Review Commission (February 17, 2014)
- Dan River Coal Ash Release Fact Sheet