• Neighbors worry construction near Duke Energy power plant could disturb buried coal ash

    By: Tina Terry

    Updated:

    BELMONT, N.C. - Residents near a Duke Energy power plant told Channel 9 they were surprised to learn about a construction project that could disturb coal ash buried in the ground near their homes.

    [ALSO READ: 9 Investigates: Coal ash site exposed near Lake Norman High School]

    Neighbors near Duke Energy’s Allen Steam Station in Belmont received a letter saying Duke will replace aging stormwater pipes.

    Many residents told Channel 9 they just learned about coal ash that was used as structural fill and buried off Lake Mist Drive.  

    The letters were delivered to people in several communities, telling them coal ash was used as structural fill on several sites in the area in the early 1990s and early 2000s.

    [ALSO READ: Rains from Florence cause collapse at North Carolina coal ash landfill]

    After an inspection by the Department of Environmental Quality, they learned aging stormwater pipes underground will have to be repaired.

    “Our plan is to encapsulate that fill,” Duke Energy spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said. “So, fill the pipe running through it with cement… put a soil cover over the top and grass. All water will flow off the top.”

    Some neighbors said they’re concerned about the workers disturbing the coal ash.

    “It's more damaging in the air than it is underground,” resident David McKenny said.     

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