Person County residents share coal ash concerns

ROXBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – The Department of Environmental Quality continued its series of meetings on when and how to close coal ash ponds across the state. Residents in Person County had their chance to weigh in Wednesday evening.

“It’s very frustrating,” Linda Jamison, a homeowner in Roxboro said.

Jamison lives a quarter of a mile away from one of Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds in Person County. She said she never had any concerns about it; that is until she received a letter in the mail from the Department of Health and Human Services. It warned her not to drink the tap water.

According to Duke Energy, at least 13 families received the letter in Person County.

“You’re constantly worrying about if I brush my teeth, don’t open my mouth? Or if I take a shower, don’t open your mouth,” Jamison said.

Jamison was one of several residents to speak out during a press conference prior to the meeting. They said it was unacceptable and that they had concerns for their health.

The meeting though wasn’t about that. The DEQ focused on clean up.

“It’s got a number of contaminants that have shown up in ground water at the compliance boundaries of a lot of the coal ash impoundments,” Jamie Kritzer, of DEQ said.

Duke maintains the groundwater is safe.

“Yes, the water in these private wells are similar to public well water across the nation,” Danielle Peoples, Duke Energy spokeswoman said.

Last week some residents received letters from DHHS saying their water was safe. Residents told us they were skeptical.

“I still wouldn’t drink the water because I don’t trust them,” Jamison told CBS North Carolina.

The DEQ said it will use these comments as it determines how and when to close these coal ash ponds. Public comment ends April 18.

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