Coal Ash

When the tragic Dan River coal ash spill occurred in February 2014, Yadkin Riverkeeper staff were some of the first responders on site, collecting water samples and alerting the public to the extent of coal ash contamination. 

Since then our focus has shifted to making sure that a disaster like Dan River does not occur in the Yadkin Basin. YRK has worked with the Dukeville community in their fight to protect their drinking water from coal ash contamination. During 2014 we conducted extensive testing of leaks at various points along the coal ash ponds surrounding Buck.  Our ultimate goal is to ensure that the five million tons of ash at Buck is cleaned up and stored so that it does not continue to pollute groundwater.

In September 2014 YRK brought a Clean Water Act lawsuit, alleging that the coal ash ponds at Buck were illegally discharging coal ash pollutants both to the Yadkin River and to nearby groundwater.  We continue to work with families in the Dukeville community who live on well water and need assurance that the water they drink, cook with and bathe in is free of toxic heavy metals. 

For more information on what's happening in Dukeville see videos from 60 Minutes, Vice News and Center for American Progress.

Make an Impact

The Riverkeeper is working with the local community to fight for a long-term solution to groundwater and river contamination at Buck. Join us to demand that Duke clean up coal ash at Buck to protect drinking water in the Yadkin Basin. 

  • In November 2014, Yadkin Riverkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance sampled the banks of High Rock Lake by Buck Steam Plant. The water level, 14 feet below its normal level, revealed a quarter-mile of oozing, metallic seeps rich in lead, arsenic and other heavy metals harmful to human health. 

  • In September 2014, Yadkin Riverkeeper filed suit under the Clean Water Act, demanding the Duke Energy clean up groundwater contamination at the Buck Steam Plant. The Riverkeeper is acting because DENR's state lawsuit does not address unpermitted seeps or the groundwater contamination underneath the coal ash ponds. 

  • It is estimated that 5 million tons of coal ash is sitting in unlined pits at Duke's Buck Steam Station in North Carolina.