Florence flood waters breach coal ash pond and imperil other toxic sites

by Kendra Pierre-louis, Nadja Popovich, and Hiroko Tabuchi, NY Times

Surging floodwaters from Florence and its torrential rains, which experts link at least in part to climate change, have released coal ash – a byproduct of coal burning that contains mercury, arsenic and other toxic substances – into the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. The torrent has also overrun several lagoons of pig waste in the state. The mishaps amplified concerns about an array of danger zones including Superfund sites, chemical plants and the region’s large-scale hog farms.

On Friday breaches in a lake at the L.V. Sutton power plant in Wilmington, N.C., opened up, causing coal ash to enter the Cape Fear. North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality said it had taken water-quality samples on Saturday but that test results would not be available until later this week. Duke Energy, which owns the Sutton plant, said water tests conducted by the company on Friday showed “little to no impact to river water quality.”

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/09/13/climate/hurricane-florence-environmental-hazards.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fclimate&action=click&contentCollection=climate&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

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