• County tests for coal ash in Mountain Island Lake

    By: Stephanie Coueignoux

    Updated:

    MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. - The source of Charlotte's drinking water is being tested for coal ash.

    Only Channel 9 was there when a water-quality team took water samples to test for coal ash in Mountain Island Lake Wednesday morning.

    https://twitter.com/StephanieWSOC9/status/626377062434127872

    The team spent nine hours taking dozens of samples, including several near the Riverbend Station, in Mount Holly, where tons of coal ash remains.

    “We've ramped up efforts with the excavation of the coal ash basin,” said Rusty Rozzelle, with Mecklenburg County Water Quality.

    • CLICK PLAY -- Watch Mecklenburg Co. water quality crews out on Mountain Island Lake:

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    Several months ago, Duke Energy started moving coal ash away from Mountain Island Lake, which supplies drinking water for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Gastonia and Mount Holly areas.

    It's expected to be 2019 before Duke Energy removes all 4 million tons of coal ash.

    “We'll test until they're finished and then after that for some period of time until we feel like the situation has been stabilized,” Rozzelle said.

    County officials said they're working closely with Duke Energy to prevent any spills or leaks, and if that does happen, they'll immediately alert the public and begin cleanup efforts.

    “I'm just glad they're taking steps to check the water supply,” resident Beverly Lawing said.

    Officials said they'll return next month to test the lake again.

    They'll test lakes Norman and Wylie, as well.

    Test results will take about two weeks, officials said.

    They also tested for bacteria levels, and those results are expected to come back Friday.

    Click here to see a chart that shows the level of trace metals found in Mountain Island Lake from 2000-2015.

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