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
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