Another Coal-Ash Spill Reported at Duke Site in North Carolina

(Bloomberg) -- A Duke Energy Corp. coal ash landfill that was damaged by Tropical Storm Florence has suffered further damage, federal officials said Monday.

Similar to an incident that occurred Saturday at Duke’s Sutton Power Plant site, near Wilmington, North Carolina, the spill occurred when a portion of the landfill’s wall eroded, said Reggie Cheatham, the Environmental Protection Agency’s, director of the Office of Emergency Management. It was unknown how much of the toxic substance was released in the spill but it is under investigation, Cheatham told reporters on a conference call.

Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan in an email disputed the EPA’s characterization of the new incident as a second breach, saying, “This is all part of the same erosion event from heavy rains, but does not represent a second slope failure.”

In the earlier incident, Duke said about 2,000 cubic yards of coal ash -- enough to fill about two-thirds of an Olympic-sized pool -- had spilled from one of multiple coal ash ponds on site. None of the material, which can carry toxic mercury, arsenic and lead, from the first incident had reached the nearby Cape Fear River, Cheatham said.

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