State warns residents near coal ash spill to avoid fish, contact with river water

Story highlights

  • Spill happened February 2 near retired power plant along a North Carolina section of Dan River
  • Environmentalists protest outside the headquarters of Duke Energy
  • State tells residents it is still testing water, now trying to get samples from fish
  • Company says water is safe, promises it will be accountable
The fallout over one of the largest coal ash spills in U.S. history continued Tuesday as environmentalists staged a protest at the headquarters of the company responsible for the incident, the federal government launched a criminal investigation, and officials warned residents near the potentially contaminated river to avoid contact with the water until testing Is finished.
Residents who live on the Dan River in North Carolina near the retired Duke Energy power plant where millions of gallons of coal ash and wastewater were leaked also were advised to skip eating fish from the water for now.
The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Tuesday told Duke Energy it is considering changes to its wastewater permits for coal ash ponds after the February 2 leak at the former plant in Eden.
Dozens of demonstrators paraded in front of the corporate headquarters of Duke Energy in Charlotte, demanding answers to what environmentalists believe are many questions in the wake of the spill, which dumped coal ash, the byproduct of burning coal, which is made up of aluminum oxide, iron oxide and silicon oxide. It also contains arsenic, mercury and other metals.
The natural resources department said Tuesday it has been testing the water near the plant since the incident and began this week to catch