Duke University researchers have found high levels of arsenic, selenium and other toxic elements in coal ash effluents and in North Carolina lakes and rivers downstream from the settling ponds of coal-fired power plants.
“In several cases, we found contamination levels that far exceeded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for safe drinking water and aquatic life,” Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, said in a new release about the results of a study into the issue.
Researchers found some of the highest levels in coal ash pond effluents flowing to Mountain Island Lake, a primary drinking water source for Charlotte, and also to the French Broad River in Asheville. The study also found high contaminant levels in Hyco and Mayo lakes, two popular recreational lakes in the northern part of the state.
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