NC State report says Dan River water safe for farm use

A North Carolina State University study says farmers can use water from the Dan River for irrigation and livestock despite the massive spill of toxic coal ash in February.

The report says river water is suitable for use as irrigation water on crops and drinking water for livestock. Also, Trace-element influx during flooding of agricultural areas will have only a marginal impact on soils and crops, the report states.

The report found arsenic, copper and other contaminates have settled to the river bottom. The report says none of the hundreds of water samples tested exceeded guidelines for cattle. It also says impacts of Dan River flooding on crop production and crop quality should be negligible.

The study also says in some cases, coal ash has been studied as ways to improve soil. It says coal ash has been studied as a way to improve soil texture and the water holding capacity of sandy soils.

Company spokesman Jeff Brooks said Friday the company did not pay the N.C. State scientists for their research.

The nation’s largest electric company has spent $15 million so far cleaning up the Feb. 2 spill that polluted 70 miles of the Dan River.

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