NC officials warn more near Duke ash pits not to drink water

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina officials are warning more residents living near Duke Energy’s coal ash pits that it’s not safe to drink or cook with their well water.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Wednesday that 191 drinking wells failed to meet state groundwater standards. That represents more than 90 percent of those tested so far. Many of the test results show high levels of such toxic heavy metals as lead, vanadium and hexavalent chromium.

A state law passed after last year’s spill into the Dan River required testing of all drinking wells within 1,000 feet of Duke’s 32 coal ash dumps. The company says the contamination found in the wells may be naturally occurring, but has offered to provide bottled water to the affected homeowners pending more tests.

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