Local News

Duke Energy announces Water Resources Fund; includes Dan River projects

Posted September 24, 2014 11:24 a.m. EDT
Updated September 24, 2014 5:03 p.m. EDT

— Duke Energy announced an investment Wednesday of $10 million to benefit waterways across North Carolina and South Carolina.

The fund also includes $1.5 million for projects in the Dan River Basin, the site of a major coal ash spill in February.

“Since the accident at our Dan River site, we’ve worked hard to strengthen our operations and to make things right – fixing the leak, cleaning the river and making sure the water quality remains safe," Duke Energy President and CEO Lynn Good said in a statement.

"We have a long history of protecting the environment and doing the right thing for the customers and communities we serve," she added. "Our ongoing work and support of the Water Resources Fund are demonstrations of our commitment."

Frank Holleman, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, released a statement Wednesday, saying "the most important thing that Duke Energy can do for clean water is to stop polluting rivers and lakes in the Carolinas and into Virginia with its coal ash pollution."

"Rivers and groundwater throughout the Carolinas are being contaminated every day by toxic substances like arsenic and lead from Duke Energy's unlined coal ash pits on the banks of our rivers," Holleman added. "We hope that Duke will do the right thing and move its coal ash to safe, dry, lined storage away from our rivers and drinking water supplies."

Coal ash became a pressing policy and political issue Feb. 2, when a pond at the former Duke Energy power plant on the Dan River in Rockingham County dumped 40,000 tons of the toxin-laced goop into the river.

Coal ash is the material left over after coal is burned for fuel. Although much of it is inert, it is infused with mercury, arsenic and other toxins.