Duke Energy gets permit to bury coal ash near spill site

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Coal ash from a Duke Energy plant spilled into the Dan River in February 2014.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s environmental department is telling Duke Energy to go ahead with building a lined landfill at its Dan River power plant so it can move coal ash away from the river that saw a massive spill two years ago.

The state Department of Environmental Quality issued the needed permit on Wednesday. The step was needed for the country’s largest electric company to build and operate the landfill to take coal ash moved from two unlined pits now on the plant site.

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The ash is the byproduct from burning coal to generate electricity. It contains such toxic chemicals as lead and mercury, which over time can seep into the groundwater.

A pipe at Duke’s Dan River plant ruptured in 2014, coating miles of the river in gray coal ash sludge.

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