By: Nathan Lamb
A North Carolina power plant accused of leaking waterborne pollutants is facing legal action from environmental officials, according to this story from the Citizens-Times newspaper.
A recently filed lawsuit from the N.C. Division of Water Quality alleges that the Progress Energy plant in Asheville is leaking toxic chemicals into groundwater and the nearby French Broad River.
Officials termed the contamination a threat to public health and water resources, and asked the courts to require the company to assess the cause and extent of the problem within 120 days. The suit also requests additional testing for groundwater and private wells nearby.
The state compelled the utility to install monitoring wells at the site in 2009, and the complaint cites test results from monitoring wells, along with two incidents where inspectors discovered contaminants migrating from coal ash ponds to the nearby river.
Specific contaminants included thallium, a toxic metal often associated with coal burning operations. According to the EPA, effects can include nerve damage, gastrointestinal irrational, damage to the kidney, liver, testicular tissue and hair loss.
Duke Energy, which owns the plant, issued a statement saying it has complied with its environmental permits.
Located roughly 120 miles west and north of Charlotte, Asheville is a city of roughly 83,000.