DANVILLE, VA, July 16, 2014 -- Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the U.S., recently completed major cleanup work of spilled coal ash along the Dan River just upstream of the Schoolfield Dam in Danville, Va.
On Feb. 2, 2014, Duke Energy spilled an estimated 30,000 to 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River between the city of Eden, N.C., and Danville, Va., polluting the waterway and potentially threatening public health.
The spill was caused by a break in a 48-inch stormwater pipe located underneath Duke's unlined 27-acre, 155-million-gallon ash pond, ultimately draining an estimated 24 to 27 million gallons of contaminated water into the Dan River. The occurrence signified the third largest coal ash spill in U.S. history.
Since the cleanup operation began on May 6, approximately 2,500 tons of coal ash and river sediment have been removed from this location. Crews and equipment were staged at Abreu-Grogan Park in Danville for the past three months.
The company also previously completed removal of ash and sediment from water treatment facilities in Danville and South Boston, as well as from locations in the river at the Dan River Steam Station and Town Creek, two miles downstream from the plant. More than 500 tons of coal ash and river sediment has been removed from these areas.
The company expects equipment demobilization and restoration activities in the park to continue for the next two weeks, with plans to return the park to the public in late July. Duke Energy is working with the city of Danville to identify future opportunities for additional enhancements at the park, such as improved river and fishing access areas.
All ash removal operations have been under the direction of the EPA and conducted in conjunction with state and other federal agencies. Based on the EPA's criteria, there currently are no additional deposits to be removed from the river. Duke Energy, EPA and other agencies will continue monitoring and will remove additional coal ash and sediment deposits if identified and deemed necessary.
Duke Energy conducted nearly 2,000 surface and drinking water samples in the Dan River. Drinking water quality has remained safe since the spill, and surface water quality returned to normal conditions within days of the event. As a result, the EPA, in conjunction with other federal and state agencies, has concluded that enhanced drinking and river water quality sampling is no longer necessary along the river. Sediment, fish tissue and other biological sampling will continue until further notice.