Concerns raised on Duke Energy coal ash plant along Lake Wylie

by: Stephanie Coueignoux Updated:


LAKE WYLIE, N.C. - Two weeks have passed since thousands of tons of coal ash spilled into the Dan River.
Since then, investigators have uncovered new problems at Duke Energy’s closed steam station. Federal investigation is examining Duke’s other coal ash sites and the state’s environmental department.
Environmental leaders confirmed they've known for years that all of Duke Energy’s sites are leaking toxins.
If you don't know what you're looking for- you may not even realize one grassy hill along Lake Wylie is a coal ash plant. 
"You have more than a million of people on these three lakes and people in South Carolina who drink this water,” said Catawba riverkeeper Sam Perkins.
Nine times larger than the Dan River Plant, the Allen Steam Plant failed once in 1983. Channel 9 found it is also one of 10 plants owned by Duke Energy labeled as "high hazard-potential" by the Environmental Protection Agency, along with the Dan River plant.
The concern is if there was a leak, not only would the water and everything living in it be affected, but also the hundreds of people living along the lake.
The EPA defines "high hazard-potential" as “a dam failure is likely to cause loss of human life."
State Rep. Ruth Samuelson, a member of the Public Utilities Committee, said she's meeting with her constituents next week in Raleigh to discuss the issue.
“I think we need to figure out how to get the coal ash away from our water sources. That should be our number one priority,” Samuelson said.
Sen. Joel Ford, a Democrat who represents Mecklenburg County, is waiting for more information before getting involved.
"Keep in mind Duke Energy is the No. 1 energy source for this state. So, it's important we have a good working relationship with them and we keep the environment and our citizens safe,” Ford said.

A Duke Energy spokeswoman said they are taking another look at how they manage all ash basins.