New map illustrates coal ash contamination of drinking water
Allen (Wylie), Marshall (Norman) sources of majority of wells contaminated by coal ash
In recent months, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has organized private labs to test drinking water wells near coal ash ponds. Starting in April, residents received test results and even Health Risk Evaluations (HREs) from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Almost all of those HREs have told people they should not drink their water.
We with clients (including CRF) across North Carolina, GIS mapping analysts at the Southern Environmental Law Center to produce a map illustrating the contamination. That map is available here.
The initial testing was for wells within 1,000 feet of coal ash ponds. The state still has yet to test all wells within that perimeter, but they are going ahead and expanding out to wells within 1,500 feet of the coal ash ponds.
From the data released as of May 15th, DENR has identified 166 wells with levels of coal ash contaminants high enough to warrant the HRE 'Do Not Drink' notices. Exactly half (83) of the contaminated wells are around Allen Steam Station on Lake Wylie. Another 25 wells surround Marshall Steam Station on Lake Norman.