WOW- Coal Ash Spill in North Carolina

Posted on 09. Mar, 2014 by in World of Wonder, WOW! Blog

On Feb.2 this year a major spill of coal ash occurred at the Duke Energy coal fired power plant called Dan River Steam Station.  While this power plant is no longer burning coal to produce power, since this plant began operating in the 1940’s the ash by-product of burning coal has been stored in ponds near the plant.  When a leak occurred that allowed ash to flow into the river 80,000 tons of this ash ended up on the bottom of the river. While Duke Energy will be required to remove the ash from the river there will be consequences for the plants and animals that live in the river because they will have eaten or absorbed some of the heavy metals that are contained in the ash.  It may not prove fatal for those plants and animals but because the life forms in the bottom of the river become a part of the food chain the impacts will occur throughout the food chain.  Insect larvae living in the bottom of the river will be eaten by fish.  Then a blue heron on the bank of the river will catch a fish for dinner.  A family goes boating and decides to fish in the river, the fish they catch becomes dinner.  An otter that lives near the river swims in the river and also eats fish. So, throughout the food chain these by-products of burning coal will have an impact. The EPA says that the contaminants in the coal ash, such as mercury, cadmium and arsenic will be concentrated in fish and can have health consequences such as cancer and other illnesses for those who consume the fish.

 

Here is a link to some information about the coal ash spill and its potential consequences so that you can read more if you like:

http://alternativeenergyatunc.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/teaching-about-the-recent-dan-river-coal-ash-spill/

 

 

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