Arsenic Levels In Dan River Were Over NC Standard

Feb 8, 2014

Officials continue to monitor water quality near the site of a coal ash spill from a retired Duke Energy plant on the Dan River in northern North Carolina. WFAE's Duncan McFadyen reports arsenic levels exceeded a state standard earlier this week.

The state department of Environment and Natural Resources first released water test results from the Dan River on Thursday. In that report, the department claimed the levels of most heavy metals, including

Scientists collect water samples from the Dan River following a coal ash spill from a retired Duke Energy plant.
Credit NC DENR

arsenic, had never been above state water quality standards. But in a release late Friday, the state said arsenic levels at two sites Monday and Tuesday had exceeded a state standard. Why the discrepancy? DENR environmental scientist Dianne Reid says she made a mistake and compared the results to the state standard for wildlife, not for human health. She says she apologizes for the error and that the state never intended to deceive anyone.

Meanwhile, crews have installed a 27-foot concrete-like plug on the broken wastewater pipe. Duke Energy says as much as 82 thousand tons of coal ash have spilled from the pipe since Sunday.