Documentation of coal leaking into the Dan River from Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station in Eden, North Carolina, which was retired in 2012.
Duke said that 50,000 to 82,000 tons of coal ash and up to 27 million gallons of water were released through a 48-inch storm water pipe under the 27 acre containment pond which continued to leak Monday, Feb. 4, 2014.
Coal ash is the waste left after burning. It contains arsenic, mercury, lead, and over a dozen other heavy metals, many of them toxic. The spill is six miles upriver from the water intake system for Danville, Virginia, a city with a population of around 43,000 people.
The pond has a liquid capacity of 155 million gallons when full, according to a recent inspection report, but was at a lower level because the Dan River power plant’s coal-fired units were retired in 2012.