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Coal Ash Spill Causes Groundwater Contamination Scare

Duke Energy Progress has not seen the end of controversy since they were taken to federal court with a $102 million penalty (the second largest amount ever fined under the Clean Water Act) for a coal ash spill affecting a number of North Carolina rivers. Nine misdemeanor violations of the Clean Water Act caused Duke Energy Progress to produce the third largest coal ash spill in U.S history. In May, the company plead guilty and paid the fines, but that does not comfort the people in the surrounding areas. Duke Energy has been providing bottled water to people living around the 32 coal ash ponds, but citizens remain concerned about the continued contamination of their well water. For the complete article containing the above information, please visit this website. Yesterday, WXII reported that tests have showed signs of the continued contamination by coal ash in three of the surrounding wells and that the company was fined again in March. Duke Energy calls this new fine excessive and is appealing it.

Many dangers are associated with contaminated groundwater. According to The Groundwater Foundation, different types of contamination can cause different conditions such as hepatitis, dysentery and certain types of cancer. Plant and animal life can also be negatively affected by water tainted with chemicals. The Foundation lists storage tanks, septic systems, uncontrolled hazardous waste, landfills, chemicals, road salts and atmospheric contaminants as potential sources for this type of pollution. This brochure produced by the Environmental Protection Agency offers suggestions about how to keep your family safe from contaminated groundwater. It stresses the importance of regular water testing and lists facts about the certain contaminants that tests will show you. It also offers valuable information to those who use private wells for their primary water source.  If you know that you live in an area that is at risk for groundwater contamination, be aware and be sure that the water you are drinking is safe for you and your family (pets included!)

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