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EPA to brief area on coal ash spill

The United States Environmental Protection Agency will hold a community briefing Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. to discuss the Eden, N.C., coal ash spill that occurred Feb. 2 polluting the Dan River with tons of toxic coal ash sludge.

The briefing will take place at Washington-Coleman Community Center located at 1927 Jeffress Blvd. in South Boston. Those attending are asked to park at the rear of the building.

Officials will be visiting South Boston to field questions and listen to community concerns in the wake of the Duke Energy coal ash spill into the Dan River.

According to information provided by Trish Taylor, EPA community involvement coordinator for the hazardous site cleanup division in Philadelphia, Penn., representatives from the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 office and other state and local responders will update the community on the coal ash spill that occurred when a pipe collapsed at the Duke Energy Steam Station leaking contents of an ash pond into the Dan River.

The spill was caused by a break in a 48-inch storm water pipe located underneath Duke’s unlined 27-acre, 155-million-gallon ash pond, ultimately draining an estimated 24 to 27 million gallons of contaminated water into the Dan River. 

A 48-inch slip-joint concrete and corrugated steel storm sewer line that runs under the ash pond failed, and liquefied ash flowed into the failed section of the line, and then to the Dan River.

The occurrence, the third largest coal ash spill in U.S. history, spewed enough toxic sludge to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools and turned the Dan River gray for several days.

Taylor said officials will answer questions regarding the response to the spill and provide the community with an update on the incident status and upcoming work efforts. 

For more information concerning the community briefing, contact Taylor at 215-514-2732.