Save Money in this Sunday's paper

comments

State tests wells in Belmont after complaint

DUKE_ASH_PONDS_05
JOHN D. SIMMONS - jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com
Dale Beck, 68, of Belmont lives across the street from an old coal ash pond at Duke’s Allen plant that has been covered with dirt. Beck relies on well water and worries about contamination from ash seeping into groundwater.

More Information

  • Links growing between coal ash and contamination
  • Duke ordered to supply water to home near Asheville plant
  • Duke to pay up to $1.8M for Wilmington water line
  • Alleged coal ash contaminants

    State lawsuits against Duke Energy say these groundwater contaminants appear to come from coal ash stored at Duke’s power plants. Most can be harmful at high concentrations in drinking water after years of exposure.

    Antimony: Can increase blood cholesterol and lower blood sugar.

    Arsenic: Increases the risk of cancer and can cause skin damage and circulatory problems.

    Boron: Has no federal drinking water standard. Large concentrations ingested in a short time can affect the stomach, intestines, liver, kidney and brain.

    Chromium: One form, chromium-6, is believed likely to cause cancer, the Environmental Protection Agency says.

    Iron: An essential human nutrient, iron has no federal drinking water standard. It carries “secondary” limits for taste and staining problems in water.

    Lead: Can cause developmental delays in infants and children, and kidney problems or high blood pressure in adults.

    Manganese: An essential human nutrient, manganese has no federal drinking water standard but may cause neurological problems in high doses. It carries “secondary” limits because of taste and staining problems in water.

    Selenium: Can cause hair and fingernail loss, numbness in fingers and circulatory problems.

    Sulfate: Has no federal drinking water standard but carries “secondary” limits for taste problems in water.

    Thallium: Can cause hair loss and kidney, intestine and liver problems.

    Sources: EPA and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry



State officials, responding to a Belmont resident’s complaint, this month tested his well and three others in another neighborhood near Duke’s Allen power plant on Lake Wylie.

They don’t expect to find ash contamination, but results haven’t been returned.

In another Belmont neighborhood, Wildlife Road, some residents worry about the long-term effects of an ash pit that’s been their close neighbor for four decades. It’s just across the street but is now closed and covered by soil and grass.

“Of course it bothers me, but we’ve lived here 40 years and what can you do about it?” said Sandra Avery.

Her neighbor, Dale Beck, said Duke announced plans for the ash pond two months after he bought his small brick ranch house in 1971. Gray water steadily filled what had been a bass pond, he said, eventually lapping about 100 feet from his house.

“I didn’t do my checking,” said Beck, 68. “Duke said as long as the cove is 50 feet from your property, there’s nothing you can do.”

Duke nor the state has offered to test his well, he said. Students working with the advocacy group Appalachian Voices sampled it last summer and found low levels of iron and manganese, as well as zinc and lead that were below groundwater standards.

Duke said it monitors the groundwater around the basin and has not seen any indication that contamination has reached the neighborhood.

But Beck wants Duke to remove the ash.

“That over there can’t be healthy,” he said, gesturing across the street. “You’d like to see Duke Energy take action on their own. My point is, even if it’s not in my lifetime, something needs to be done.” Bruce Henderson

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases