NC regulators missed crack in Duke coal ash dam

NC regulators missed crack in Duke coal ash dam (Image 1)
NC regulators missed crack in Duke coal ash dam (Image 1)

Photos taken earlier this month show North Carolina regulators apparently failed to notice a large crack opening in an earthen dam holding back millions of tons of Duke Energy’s coal ash near the Cape Fear River.

State Department of Environment and Natural Resources spokesman Jamie Kritzer says inspectors visited Duke’s Cape Fear Plant on March 11 and 18, but did not see the crack.

Aerial photos taken March 10 by the environmental group WaterKeeper Alliance show the crack clearly marked by metal stakes topped with orange streamers.

The agency has said it knew nothing of the potential hazard until Duke reported the crack on March 20, after the company was cited for illegally pumping 61 million gallons of contaminated wastewater into the river. The crack has since been repaired.

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