Duke Energy, Roxboro residents meet over coal-ash fears

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Coal ash
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Concerns remain over coal-ash effects.

ROXBORO (WTVD) -- Some Person County neighbors are meeting face-to-face with Duke Energy and State Environmental Leaders to express their concerns over tainted water near Duke Energy's Coal Plant nearby off Dunaway Road.

Linda Jamison's home sits just down the road from Duke Energy's Roxboro Plant - a facility that she says has harmed her family.

"I always felt that plant had something to do with my father coming down with cancer," Jamison said.

Since last year, Jamison and about 12 other families have been using bottled water provided by Duke Energy. This came after the State's Health and Human Service division believed their well water contained substances not suitable for drinking.

Duke Energy sends Jamison cartons of water bi-weekly. She says the routine is getting old and cumbersome because she's disabled.

"Constantly going outside bringing water in to wash chicken to wash vegetables," Jamison said. "That is so time consuming."

Last week, the State notified 235 well-water users that their water is deemed safe. And that based on its studies -- the substances found -- are at lower levels --compared to other city and county water across the country.

Duke Energy said its studies show the coal plant is not responsible for the substances found in the water.

ABC 11 asked if that is the case, why is Duke Energy still supplying the water?

Danielle Peoples with Duke Energy said, "That's a good question and the reason the company decided to provide bottled water while we did more research was because there was an urgency there and to be a good neighbor we wanted to provide some sort of peace of mind."

Currently Duke Energy has 33 coal-ash ponds across the state. Three of the ponds are in Person County.

Wednesday's public meeting at Person County Office Building with neighbors is to gauge residents' thoughts on the risk level - and timeframe to close the ponds.

According to Duke Energy, these are the risk levels and timelines for closures:

Low Risk - by 2029
Intermediate level - by 2024
High Risk - by 2019

Jamison said she believes it's too late and the damage is already done.

"I invite an open invitation for (Gov. Pat) McCrory and Duke people and have dinner, and I'll serve them tea made from the water and serve dinner made from the water and see how they feel," Jamison said.

ABC11 reached out to the governor's office for comment numerous times, but has not received a response to this issue.

The State Health and Human Service division says that several wells were tested near Jamison's home and those individuals will receive letters stating the water is safe to drink.

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