Coal Ash

When the tragic Dan River coal ash spill occurred in February 2014, Yadkin Riverkeeper staff were some of the first responders on site, collecting water samples and alerting the public to the extent of coal ash contamination. Since then our focus has shifted to making sure that a disaster like Dan River does not occur in the Yadkin Basin. 


Coal Ash SELC Story Board Map

When the Dan River spill occurred in February 2014, Yadkin Riverkeeper staff were some of the first responders on the site to alert the public to the extent of coal ash contamination.

In October 2016, after a two year campaign, Yadkin Riverkeeper secured a clean up of the Buck Steam Station coal ash pits.  Under this agreement, Duke Energy is obligated to excavate and recycle the over 5 million tons of coal ash sitting in unlined pits.   Buck Steam Station is Duke’s oldest coal plant, opened in 1926 and stopped burning coal in 2013.  It is the 8th of 14 sites in North Carolina to be placed under a clean up agreement.  

Going forward, Yadkin Riverkeeper will continue to work with the Dukeville community and monitor the situation at Buck to ensure that clean up is conducted in a timely manner that protects the river and community.  For more information on the clean up agreement, click here.


For backgroundinformation on what's happening in Dukeville see videos from 60 Minutes, Vice News and Center for American Progress.  

Make an Impact

The Riverkeeper is working with the local community to fight for a long-term solution to groundwater and river contamination at Buck. Join us to demand that Duke clean up coal ash at Buck to protect drinking water in the Yadkin Basin. 

  • In November 2014, Yadkin Riverkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance sampled the banks of High Rock Lake by Buck Steam Plant. The water level, 14 feet below its normal level, revealed a quarter-mile of oozing, metallic seeps rich in lead, arsenic and other heavy metals harmful to human health. 

  • In September 2014, Yadkin Riverkeeper filed suit under the Clean Water Act, demanding the Duke Energy clean up groundwater contamination at the Buck Steam Plant. The Riverkeeper is acting because DENR's state lawsuit does not address unpermitted seeps or the groundwater contamination underneath the coal ash ponds. 

  • It is estimated that 5 million tons of coal ash is sitting in unlined pits at Duke's Buck Steam Station in North Carolina.