Duke has fixed crack on Cape Fear coal ash dam

From staff reportsMarch 25, 2014 

— Duke Energy has repaired the crack that developed in an earthen dam at its Cape Fear Steam Station plant in Chatham County, state regulators reported Tuesday.

The crack had developed at one of the utility’s coal ash ponds where Duke had been lowering the water level to do maintenance work. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources last week cited the company for pumping 61 million gallons of wastewater from the ponds into the Cape Fear River over several months, which was unauthorized.

The crack, discovered on March 20, was 4 or 5 inches wide and 35 inches long. No water leaked from the ash pond and the dam didn’t appear to be in imminent danger of failing.

DENR on Tuesday also reported that water quality samples taken downstream of the Dan River plant near Eden show arsenic – a key ingredient of coal ash — and other metals continue to decrease and are within state surface water quality standards. Aluminum and iron exceed standards, but both are naturally occurring elements and might not be related to the coal ash spill last month.

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