DAN RIVER: Records: Duke warned about pipe that caused spill - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Records: Duke warned about pipe that caused spill

Posted: Updated:
Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station in Eden, N.C. Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station in Eden, N.C.
  • Coal Ash SpillMore>>

  • Environment group says public 'mislead' to think Dan River is clean

    Environment group says public 'mislead' to think Dan River is clean

    Friday, July 18 2014 2:06 PM EDT2014-07-18 18:06:07 GMT
    Waterkeeper Alliance says photos show coal ash is still present in the Dan River. (Waterkeeper Alliance)Waterkeeper Alliance says photos show coal ash is still present in the Dan River. (Waterkeeper Alliance)
    Waterkeeper Alliance provided photos it says show deposits of coal ash still in the Dan River despite claims to the contrary.
    Waterkeeper Alliance provided photos it says show deposits of coal ash still in the Dan River despite claims to the contrary.
  • NC, Va. groups to monitor coal ash in Dan River

    NC, Va. groups to monitor coal ash in Dan River

    Friday, July 18 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-07-18 13:59:45 GMT
    A collapsed pipe at Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station dumped coal ash into the Dan River.A collapsed pipe at Duke Energy's Dan River Steam Station dumped coal ash into the Dan River.
    Two water protection groups will continue to monitor the Dan River to identify coal ash from a massive spill in North Carolina that flowed into Virginia.
    Two water protection groups will continue to monitor the Dan River to identify coal ash from a massive spill in North Carolina that flowed into Virginia.
  • Feds: Duke Energy has finished moving coal ash from Dan River

    Feds: Duke Energy has finished moving coal ash from Dan River

    Thursday, July 17 2014 3:03 PM EDT2014-07-17 19:03:48 GMT
    Duke has dredged up about 2,500 tons of ash and contaminated sediment, as well as another 500 tons that had accumulated in settling tanks at downstream municipal water treatment plants.
    Duke has dredged up about 2,500 tons of ash and contaminated sediment, as well as another 500 tons that had accumulated in settling tanks at downstream municipal water treatment plants.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Records subpoenaed by federal prosecutors show engineers working for Duke Energy warned the company nearly 30 years before a massive coal ash spill that a stormwater pipe running under an ash dump was made of corrugated metal and needed to be monitored for leaks.

That pipe at a North Carolina dump collapsed in February, triggering a spill that coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic gray sludge. Following the disaster, Duke officials said the company didn't know that an underground section of the pipe was made out of metal, believing instead that it had been fully constructed of more-durable reinforced concrete.

Duke spokesman Dave Scanzoni declined to comment Thursday about the documents or whether the company implemented the monitoring recommended by its engineers.

The 28-year-old engineering report was among documents subpoenaed last week from the N.C. Utilities Commission by the U.S. Attorney in Raleigh as part of an ongoing grand jury investigation into the spill. The Associated Press filed a public records request with the state agency, which was responsible for regulating Duke's 33 coal ash pits in North Carolina up until 2010.

Starting in the mid-1970s, the commission mandated Duke to submit independent engineering studies every five years affirming the safety of the huge earthen dikes holding back millions of tons of ash and contaminated water from nearby rivers and lakes.

Coal ash is the byproduct left behind when coal is burned to generate energy. It contains numerous toxic substances, including arsenic, selenium, chromium, beryllium, thallium, mercury, cadmium and lead. Some of the chemicals in wet ash can also corrode metal.

Duke hired Law Engineering Testing Co. to perform the required inspections at the Dan River Steam Station in Eden. In its 1986 report, the Charlotte firm noted that part of the pipe was made of metal.

"Part of this culvert is constructed of corrugated metal pipe which would be expected to have less longevity of satisfactory service than the reinforced concrete pipes," the report states.

Among the eight recommendations made at the end of the 45-page report, the engineers specifically suggest Duke check on the pipe under the coal ash dump at least every six months. The report said the inside of the pipes should be checked for leaks anytime there was a significant difference between how much was flowing in and how much was flowing out.

In the days after the Feb. 2 spill, Duke issued public statements expressing surprise that the pipe wasn't made of corrosion-resistant concrete.

"Originally, the media reported and we reported that this was a concrete pipe, the 48-inch one, because what we could see is right here at the river," Duke's lead lobbyist, George Everett, told state lawmakers at a Feb. 17 oversight hearing into the spill. "The rest of this pipe, we discovered, as we worked from the other end, is a metal pipe — asphalt-coated metal corrugated pipe. That's the piece ... that broke."

On Monday, North Carolina regulators cited Duke for leaking pipes under coal ash dumps at five of its plants, some of them constructed from old corrugated metal. Duke said it is working to fix the leaks.

The 1986 study from the Dan River plant also makes numerous references to a prior 1981 review that found problems at the Eden coal ash dump. It is not clear if that earlier report also warned about the metal pipe.

Sam Watson, spokesman for the utility commission, says there is no record that Duke ever submitted that 1981 engineering report to state regulators, as required.

Scanzoni, the Duke spokesman, said Thursday the company still has a copy, though he declined to share it with The Associated Press.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:00:14 GMT
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
  • Man charged with killing UNC professor had just left Wake Jail

    Man charged with killing UNC professor had just left Wake Jail

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-07-25 23:14:57 GMT
    Derick Davis II, 23 (Left) and Troy Arrington, Jr., 27, (Right)Derick Davis II, 23 (Left) and Troy Arrington, Jr., 27, (Right)
    An Orange County dispatcher sounded shocked Wednesday afternoon when a 911 caller described finding University of North Carolina professor Feng Liu beaten and dying on a street near the UNC campus.
    An Orange County dispatcher sounded shocked Wednesday afternoon when a 911 caller described finding University of North Carolina professor Feng Liu beaten and dying on a street near the UNC campus.
  • DOT fixes sign for new 485 flyover that spelled Pineville wrong

    DOT fixes sign for new 485 flyover that spelled Pineville wrong

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:40 PM EDT2014-07-25 17:40:30 GMT
    Thursday morning the Department of Transportation officially opened a ramp from Johnston Road to I-485. The flyover ramp opened around 5:15 a.m.
    Thursday morning the Department of Transportation officially opened a ramp from Johnston Road to I-485. The flyover ramp opened around 5:15 a.m.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Dogs Kill Man Out for an Evening Jog

    Dogs Kill Man Out for an Evening Jog

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:36 PM EDT2014-07-25 16:36:28 GMT
    (WDIV) A 46-year-old man has died after being attacked by dogs while he was on a run Wednesday evening in Metamora, Michigan.Police said Craig Sytsma, of Livonia, was running when two 3-year-old cane corsos attacked him.Sytsma died from his injuries at a hospital.Police said the dogs, which are being held by animal control, have been involved in previous bite cases.Read more: http://bit.ly/1l16ze7
    (WDIV) A 46-year-old man has died after being attacked by dogs while he was on a run Wednesday evening in Metamora, Michigan.Police said Craig Sytsma, of Livonia, was running when two 3-year-old cane corsos attacked him.Sytsma died from his injuries at a hospital.Police said the dogs, which are being held by animal control, have been involved in previous bite cases.Read more: http://bit.ly/1l16ze7
  • Sheriff's Office showcases "Faces of Meth" program as a lesson to all

    Sheriff's Office showcases "Faces of Meth" program as a lesson to all

    Monday, July 21 2014 11:33 AM EDT2014-07-21 15:33:26 GMT
    Faces of Meth™ is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in Oregon. This project began when a deputy in the Corrections Division Classification Unit, Deputy Bret King, put together mug shots of persons booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center. Deputy King worked with his co-workers in the Classification Unit to identify people who had been in custody more than once. He then worked to verify criminal records and files to determine and assure a history of methamphetamine re...
    Faces of Meth™ is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in Oregon. This project began when a deputy in the Corrections Division Classification Unit, Deputy Bret King, put together mug shots of persons booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center. Deputy King worked with his co-workers in the Classification Unit to identify people who had been in custody more than once. He then worked to verify criminal records and files to determine and assure a history of methamphetamine re...
  • 'Creepy' dolls had innocent explanation

    'Creepy' dolls had innocent explanation

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:48 AM EDT2014-07-25 11:48:49 GMT
    This image, date not known, provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Department shows one of several dolls that have been found left on doorsteps in the last week in San Clemente, Calif.This image, date not known, provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Department shows one of several dolls that have been found left on doorsteps in the last week in San Clemente, Calif.
    Authorities say the person who left on doorsteps porcelain dolls that resembled real children didn't mean any harm.
    Authorities say the person who left on doorsteps porcelain dolls that resembled real children didn't mean any harm.
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.