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Riverkeeper asks to join suit against Duke

The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation asked a Mecklenburg County court Thursday for permission to join North Carolina’s lawsuit over coal-ash contamination at Mountain Island Lake.

Under pressure from environmental groups, the state filed suit against Duke Energy Carolinas on May 24, saying pollution from ash basins at the Riverbend power plant pose a “serious danger” to public health and the water.

The suit cited leaks from basin dams into the lake, which is Charlotte’s main water supply, and groundwater contamination.

The Southern Environmental Law Center, representing the riverkeeper, said it filed a motion Thursday to intervene in the case. By joining the suit, the center said it would ensure that the lake and public would “receive the full protection of the law from Duke Energy’s illegal pollution.”

Duke maintains that the leaks from the ash-basin dams have been known to state officials, are normal and have not hurt the lake’s water quality.

Arsenic, which causes cancer, has been found in lake water and sediment near the power plant. Local officials say it poses no risk to drinking water.

Groundwater near the Riverbend ash basins has also been contaminated by iron and manganese, which are found in ash but also occur naturally.

Henderson: 704-358-5051 Twitter: @bhender
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