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Posted Fri Jan 27 2012: from Charlotte Observer:
Toxic metals found in water near coal plants
As the Environmental Protection Agency mulled the first federal ash-handling rules, which are still on hold, utilities and state agencies began looking for local problems. Duke Energy and Progress Energy sank test wells around their ash ponds several years ago and found tainted groundwater. N.C. officials told them in 2010 to sink more wells, farther from the ponds. That led to results the N.C. Division of Water Quality is now reporting. Iron, manganese and low pH, all in excess of what the state says is allowable, were found at all 14 plants. Duke and Progress each own seven. Sulfate, dissolved solids and chromium were found at seven plants. Boron was found at six, arsenic at three, and selenium, thallium and antimony at two. Chloride and nickel were each detected at one plant.... Techniques exist to "fingerprint" the source of elements that occur both in ash and naturally, said Avner Vengosh, a Duke University geochemist. While iron and manganese are commonly detected, he said, elements such as boron and strontium are more closely associated with ash. Power plant ash ponds also drain into the rivers and lakes the power plants use for cooling water. The three Duke power plants closest to Charlotte, Riverbend overlooking Mountain Island Lake, Allen on Lake Wylie and Marshall on Lake Norman, discharge 23 million gallons a day from their ponds.
[Read more stories about: coal issues, heavy metals, toxic buildup]

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