Residents near Duke ash dumps told not to drink well water

Duke Energy's Buck Steam Station (Courtesy Duke Energy)
Duke Energy's Buck Steam Station (Courtesy Duke Energy)

RALEIGH, N.C. – State officials are advising an undisclosed number of families near Duke Energy coal ash dumps not to drink or cook with water from their wells after tests showed contamination with toxic heavy metals.

A law passed after last year’s spill into the Dan River required the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources to sample wells within 1,000 feet of Duke’s 32 coal ash dumps.

Rowan County Environmental Health Manager Tad Helmstetler confirmed 20 families living near Buck Steam Station in Salisbury are getting letters advising them not to consume their water. Several of the letters cite high levels of vanadium, a naturally occurring element found in coal classified as hazardous by federal health officials.

State environmental officials have refused to comment on how many are affected statewide.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

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