Environmental study ranks Belmont coal ash site second worst in nation

BELMONT, N.C. — A new environmental report points to a threat to ground water in 39 states, including a local facility as the second worst in the nation.

The report confirms the worries people living near Duke Energy's Allen Steam Station have been concerned about for years.

The Belmont site is ranked second worst in the country when it comes to coal ash contamination.

Two environmental groups reviewed documents submitted to the EPA involving coal-fired power plants.

The report claims coal ash dumps in Belmont are leaking cobalt into groundwater, more than 500 times above safe levels, along with other pollutants. Exposure to cobalt can cause thyroid damage.

The analysis confirmed groundwater under virtually all coal plants is contaminated.

Groundwater at 52 percent of coal plants has unsafe levels of arsenic, which can cause multiple types of cancer.

Additionally, 60 percent of coal plants have unsafe levels of lithium, a chemical linked to multiple health risk including neurological damage.

The report said the full extent of the effect on drinking water supplies can't be determined because private sources of drinking water are not tested.

Channel 9 has covered concerns among neighbors near the Allen Steam Station for years.

Many have been drinking bottled water for about four years because of concerns about their drinking water.


A year ago, we reported a group of people reached an agreement with Duke Energy after filing a lawsuit.

Duke Energy sent Channel 9 a statement ensuring drinking water is safe.

"Duke is already well down the path to safely closing all of our basins in ways that continue to protect people and the environment. This is yet another attempt by some to mislead the public by cherry-picking one or two data points out of thousands in order to advance a misleading narrative and extreme agenda.”

Duke Energy has more than 100 million tons of ash sitting in coal ash basins that must close by 2029.

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