INSTITUTE INDEX: A year after Duke Energy's coal ash disaster, protections still lacking

(Photo by Susan Melkisethian via Flickr.)

Date on which a pipe collapsed beneath a coal ash waste impoundment at Duke Energy's retired Dan River power plant in North Carolina near the Virginia border: 2/2/2014

Tons of coal ash that spilled into the Dan, which provides drinking water for downstream communities: 39,000

Gallons of contaminated water also released into the Dan from the spill: 27 million

Rank of the disaster among the largest coal ash spills in U.S. history: 3

Miles of the Dan riverbed coated in coal ash, which contains toxins including arsenic, chromium and lead: 70

Thickness in feet of some of the coal ash drifts that settled in the river: 5

In the year since the disaster, percent of the spilled coal ash Duke Energy has cleaned from the Dan: about 6

Total tons of coal ash Duke has stored in similar impoundments at its 14 coal-fired plants across North Carolina: 108 million

Total gallons of coal ash stored at Duke's active Belews Creek plant 35 miles upstream from the Dan River plant, in an impoundment that's been rated high-hazard for its potential to kill people and destroy property in the event of a spill: 4.1 billion

Of Duke Energy's 14 North Carolina coal-fired plants, numbers where ash impoundments are leaking pollution to the environment: 14

Chance that people living near an unlined impoundments have of getting cancer due to drinking arsenic-contaminated water: 1 in 50

Portion of high-hazard coal ash impoundments in the Southeast that are located in low-income communities: over 1/2

Total number of seeps at coal ash impoundments Duke Energy reported to North Carolina regulators in a recent filing: 200

Number of times the arsenic levels from seeps at six Duke plants exceed the state safety standard: 140

Gallons of polluted water that continue to flow into North Carolina rivers every day from the seeps, which state regulators plan to simply include in Duke Energy's wastewater discharge permits: 3 million

Since the Dan River disaster, number of actions taken by North Carolina regulators to require Duke Energy to clean up its leaking coal ash impoundments: 0

Under a law passed by the state legislature last year in response to the Dan River spill, number of the 14 coal ash impoundments across the state where Duke Energy must soon move the waste into safer, dry storage away from waterways: 4

Date meant by "soon": 12/31/2019

Under the new state law, date by which Duke Energy must close all of its more than 30 coal ash impoundments in North Carolina: 12/31/2029

Amount Duke Energy, which is valued at $50 billion, has been fined for the spill to date: $0

Date on which the board of supervisors in Virginia's Pittsylvania County unanimously voted to consider taking legal action seeking reparations for the spill: 2/2/2015

(Click on figure to go to source.)