National

The River City, Where Coal Ash (STILL) Flows from Eden

By Jennifer Peters, National Water Campaigns Coordinator

The motto for the City of Danville, Virginia is “The river city, where innovation flows.” Since Sunday night, the River City has been where coal ash flows. As I posted Wednesday, Duke Energy has been scrambling to stop the flow of coal ash wastewater from one of its ash ponds since a stormwater pipe beneath the pond ruptured Sunday afternoon. The ash pond, located near Eden, North Carolina, is approximately 20 miles upriver from the city of Danville, VA, which gets its drinking water from the Dan River. Our friends Catawba Riverkeeper have created this timeline of events for the ongoing spill. It’s been over five days – and I am beginning to wonder, how many Duke Energy engineers does it take to fix one broken pipe? Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.

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From the Blog: A River Runs Gray, Threatening Downstream Water Supplies

By Jennifer Peters, National Water Campaigns Coordinator

Nearly 72-hours after a stormwater pipe buried beneath a 27-acre unlined coal ash pond burst, wastewater from the pond is still spilling into the Dan River near the town of Eden, North Carolina. Duke Energy, the pond operator, estimates that between 50,000 to 82,000 tons of coal ash has contaminated the Dan River – a volume of ash that would fill between 20 and 32 Olympic-size swimming pools. The company estimates that an additional 24-27 million gallons of coal ash wastewater has poured into the river.

Coal ash is the waste left behind from burning coal and it contains arsenic, lead, mercury, boron, cadmium, selenium, nutrients and other harmful chemicals. Heavy metals like mercury are highly soluble in water, and wastewater from ash ponds pose an especially big threat to aquatic life because these dissolved heavy metals can persist in the environment for a very long time. Heavy metals like mercury also concentrate up the food chain, which is why so many water bodies across the country have fish consumption advisories. Read more.

From the Blog: US Senate Hearing on West Virginia Drinking Water: Crisis What Crisis?

By Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director

Yesterday I attended a U.S. Senate hearing on the West Virginia “Drinking Water Crisis” brought on by last month’s chemical spill into the Elk River, the drinking water source for West Virginia American Water’s 300,000 consumers.  The hearing title got me thinking that we do have a “crisis” on our hands, but it’s not limited to what happened in West Virginia.  Far too often, many different types of polluting industrial activities – not just storing chemicals in tanks  - are allowed to contaminate our drinking water sources.

This could be prevented.  But instead we’re putting a burden on our drinking water systems and their consumers (us). We’re basically turning our drinking water treatment plants into an easy-way-out waste disposal option for companies who should be cleaning up their act way upstream. That’s what our Put Drinking Water First efforts are about, and you’ll be hearing more about them during this 40th anniversary year of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Read more

Clean Water Action Statement on Senate Hearing on Drinking Water Supplies and the WV Spill

Clean Water Action Statement on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife entitled, "Examination of the Safety and Security of Drinking Water Supplies Following the Central West Virginia Drinking Water Crisis."

Washington DC -- Clean Water Action welcomes today's hearing and its focus on protecting drinking water sources. "Elected officials need to make protection of drinking water sources the primary consideration in decisions about facility siting, permitting and oversight," said Clean Water Action National Campaigns Director Lynn Thorp.

Published On: 
02/04/2014 - 14:00

Clean Water Action Applauds EPA Action on Coal Ash Pollution

Washington, DC:  After years of delay, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will finalize coal ash disposal standards by December 19, 2014. Clean Water Action welcomes this announcement and looks forward to the release of the final rule. Jennifer Peters, Clean Water Action’s National Water Campaign Coordinator released this statement.

“This is great news and a step in the right direction. It’s also a testament to the power of sustained activism in the court of public opinion and the federal courts.  We’re thrilled that persistence of public interest groups like Earthjustice and the Maopa Band of the Paiute tribe paid off and are looking forward to working with these groups to support a strong final rule.

Published On: 
01/30/2014 - 15:07

Climate Change is Water Change

President Delivers Leadership at Critical Juncture for our Water

Washington: Tonight, Clean Water Action welcomed President Obama’s continued focus on climate change in his State of the Union address. Clean Water Action CEO Bob Wendelgass released this statement:

“We’ve long said that climate change is water change. Water resources that are already under stress are being placed even more at risk as climate change worsens. The same dirty energy sources that are now causing irreversible climate change are also bad news for our water, our air and our health. Like President Obama, we agree that it’s time to end the massive subsidies to oil companies and focus support on new sources of clean energy to create jobs and fight climate pollution.
Published On: 
01/28/2014 - 22:01

States Grapple With Toxics Where Federal Action Fails

33 States To Consider Toxic Chemical Regulation In 2014
As meaningful federal toxic chemical reform languishes, state legislators are standing up to chemical industry pressure and acting to protect public health. Over half the country — at least 33 states — will consider policies in 2014 to address toxic chemicals in consumer products, according to an analysis by Safer States, a national coalition of state-based environmental health organizations.
Published On: 
01/28/2014 - 10:54

Moran, Ellison Lead Charge to Strengthen Clean Water

Washington D.C. -- Representative Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee, and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) were joined by 72 Members of Congress in urging EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to finalize stricter clean water regulations, which would limit discharges from coal-fired power plants.

A copy of the letter and a list of signatories is available here.

Published On: 
01/27/2014 - 12:27

From the Blog: What Have We Learned from West Virginia?

By Michael Kelly, Communications Director

Three weeks ago nearly 300,000 West Virginians lost their tap water because of a spill at a chemical storage facility less than a mile and half from an intake for the region’s drinking water. Cities and businesses were shut down and people couldn’t use their water for more than five days. Numerous failures led to this disaster, including a lack of state inspection of the facility for the last decade to the lack of health data available on the chemical.

The question is, what have we learned?

  1. We need stronger safeguards to protect drinking water sources from disasters like the Freedom Industries spills and everyday pollution from coal plants and other industrial activities
  2. We need to know more about the chemicals in use around us every day and we must reforms to our chemical management policies
  3. It’s time to put drinking water first

Read more at We All Live Downstream

From the Blog - The Only Good Thing to Come from the WV Spill

By Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director

For the last few days, hundreds of thousands of people in West Virginia were miserable.  Not only were they concerned about their health in the face of the chemical spill at Freedom Industries, but they did not have water for other daily needs including taking baths and showers or washing clothes.  And yet, there was one positive thing about the last six days and part of me wishes it wouldn’t end.

Click here to read the rest.

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