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Coal Ash Leak in North Carolina Power Plant Slowed, but Not Stopped

An underground pipe collapsed early this month at a retired power plant in North Carolina, causing between 50,000-82,000 tons of coal ash to flow into the Dan River. Workers are scurrying to seal the leak, and as of February 6, 2014 the flow has slowed, but workers have been unable to completely stop the spill.

The coal ash is a residue from burning powdered coal to generate electricity, and contains high levels of toxic substances such as lead and mercury. North Carolina officials state that they began testing the Dan River for the presence of 28 toxic metals since February 6, but results are not yet available. There are five communities downstream of the Dan that rely on the river for drinking water. These communities are monitoring and filtering the water, though it has been deemed safe to drink.

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