DEQ continues to investigate coal pollution spill, many questions remain

Members with the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Inc. released an update on the coal pollution spill at Rogers Energy Complex (formerly Cliffside power plant) Thursday evening. 

RELATED: Duke Energy: Thousands of gallons of stormwater from coal pile spills into Broad River

Officials said they were able to get an aerial view of the complex Thursday to spot if there was any remaining evidence of the coal stormwater spill. They said rains and construction at the site complicated surveillance. 

Statement released by Waterkeeper Alliance and Broad River Alliance: 

“We got on the river for three hours yesterday to investigate the reported pollution spill at Cliffside facility. In addition to countless leaks along the riverbank coming from unlined coal ash dumps, we observed a suspicious discharge to the river from a stream that flows between a leaking, inactive coal ash dump and the unburned coal pile next to the power plant. The discharge contained cloudy, gray water with a thick layer of caramel-colored material floating on top of it.

We are not aware of any efforts by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) or Duke Energy to evaluate the potential water quality impacts of the spill to the Broad River. Once again, Duke’s irresponsible management and DEQ’s inadequate oversight have led to more water pollution being dumped from a coal-fired power plant into a river that provides thousands of North and South Carolinians with drinking water.

Our preliminary analysis of water samples collected from the Broad River indicate the presence of pollutants associated with coal and coal ash, including boron. Waterkeeper Alliance has sent the samples to a certified lab and will report the results as more information becomes available.

This spill is the latest in a long history of uncontrolled releases of coal-related water pollution at the Cliffside plant. In 2005, heavy rains caused five million gallons of coal ash waste to spill into a tributary stream at the plant, and every single day millions of gallons of contaminants illegally leak into the Broad River from unlined coal ash ponds at the site. Duke Energy must remove all the coal ash from unlined ponds at Cliffside and store it in lined landfills away from the river."


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