82,000 tons of coal ash spill into North Carolina river

  • Coal ash swirls on the surface of the Dan River in Danville, Va., downstream from the site of the leak at a power plant in Eden, N.C., Feb. 5.
  • Duke Energy engineers and contractors survey the site of a coal ash spill at the Dan River Power Plant in Eden, N.C. Duke Energy estimates that up to 82,000 tons of ash has been released from a break in a 48-inch storm water pipe at the plant on Sunday.
  • Amy Adams, North Carolina campaign coordinator with Appalachian Voices, shows her hand covered with wet coal ash from the Dan River.
  • Coal ash lines the banks of the Dan River in Eden, N.C., Feb. 5.
  • Didi Fung, a contractor for the Environmental Protection Agency, collects water samples from the Dan River in Eden, N.C., Feb. 5.
  • State and federal officials dock after collecting sediment samples as coal ash surfaces on the water on the Dan River in Danville, Va., Feb. 5.
  • Brian Williams, not shown, program manager for the Dan River Basin Association, scoops up coal ash on his canoe paddle from the bank of the Dan River in Eden, N.C., Feb. 5.


An estimated 82,000 tons of coal ash, along with millions of gallons of contaminated water, has leaked from a retired power plant in Eden, N.C. into the Dan River, according to the Associated Press The leak was discovered on Sunday,

Hundreds of people are working to resolve the leak, said Duke Energy, the company that owns the power plant. “We are exploring multiple options to permanently and safely seal the broken stormwater pipe that has released ash into the river,” Charlie Gates, a senior vice president at the company, said in a statement. Flow to the river significantly decreased throughout the day Tuesday. It fluctuated a bit earlier [Wednesday] but has been very low this afternoon.” 

The company said it was working with local officials to determine whether the leak has contaminated any water supplies.

Speak Out