FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2018, file photo provided by Cape Fear River Watch, heavy rains from Hurricane Florence erode and breach a coal ash landfill at the L.V. Sutton Power Station in Wilmington, N.C. North Carolina environmental officials have yet to release their pollution findings from the breach. (Kemp Burdette/Cape Fear River Watch via AP, File)

Tests find heavy metals in river after coal plant dam burst

October 04, 2018 - 5:34 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina environmental officials say despite the gray muck in the Cape Fear River near a Wilmington power plant, tests so far show heavy metals contained in coal ash are within water quality standards.

The state Department of Environmental Quality said Thursday that samples collected within two weeks of Hurricane Florence crashing aground in Wilmington found no excessive results for arsenic, lead, chromium and other metals.

Duke Energy says results from samples it collected and tested at an in-house lab showed no negative impacts to the river from its Sutton power plant. Flooding from Florence overtopped a dike at a plant cooling reservoir, flooding an adjacent dump containing 400,000 tons of coal ash.

The Charlotte-based electric utility says the state's test results released Thursday align with its own.

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