North Carolina officials are advising dozens of residents near Duke Energy coal ash dumps not to drink or cook with water from their wells after tests showed contamination with toxic heavy metals.
The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources says that 87 of the 117 private wells tested near eight Duke plants showed results that failed to meet state groundwater standards. Private wells in Asheville were among those tested.
A state law passed after last year's massive spill into the Dan River required wells within 1,000 feet of Duke's 32 coal ash dumps across the state to be evaluated.
DENR’s first public acknowledgement of the troubling test results came after The Associated Press reported that homeowners near Duke's Station outside Salisbury had received written warnings about their water. A DENR spokesman told WCQS, they plan to release the results as soon they confirm that all residents have received their individual results.
A Duke spokesman said the chemicals found in the private well near the company's ash dumps could also be naturally present in local soils. DENR says it will conduct follow-up tests to determine the source.