Nearly 1,000 households near coal ash facilities to receive alternate drinking water

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State environmental officials say they have notified well owners within half a mile of coal ash facilities that they will receive a permanent alternative drinking water supply.

Official say letters went out to 1,000 households.

“North Carolina continues to lead the nation in addressing the decades-old problem of coal ash,” said Tom Reeder, assistant secretary of the state environmental department. “As we work toward closing every coal ash pond in the state, we are providing residents with the peace of mind that comes from receiving alternate water connections.”

Governor McCrory signed legislation in July that require Duke Energy to install and pay for new water supplies to households located near coal ash ponds as soon as possible, but no later than the fall of 2018.

State environmental officials say under the new law Duke Energy is required to install a permanent water supply for each house located within a half-mile compliance boundary, and that isn’t separated by a body of water that would prevent any potential contamination. The utility must also install new water supplies beyond the half-mile boundary wherever any impact from coal ash facilities is found.

The law requires Duke Energy to pay for either the installation of a new water line or a home filtration system and to submit plans for installing water supplies to all homes by December 2016, according to state environmental officials. The state environmental department will evaluate the plans over the following year in order to provide all households with a permanent water supply as quickly as possible. As part of that review, additional households may be identified to receive alternate water supplies, according to state environmental officials.