"Reports Suggest Pipes Not Tested at Duke Energy's Dan River Plant"

"There’s no evidence in reports subpoenaed by a federal grand jury that Duke Energy ever performed a simple test engineers recommended, one that might have prevented the spill this winter at the utility’s power plant near Eden.

Engineers inspecting the ash basin at the now-retired Dan River Steam Station in 1986 and 1992 told the utility to measure how much water flowed into a pair of storm-water drainage pipes before they went under the two ponds and compare it to the amount coming out the other ends, right next to the river.

“If a disparity becomes evident or if there is evidence of turbidity, the pipes should be checked for leaks,” Charlotte engineer William J. Sullivan said in his inspection report 22 years ago.

Instead, the structural integrity of the two pipes went largely uninspected, the bigger one broke Feb. 2, and an environmental crisis ensued as up to 39,000 tons of ash gushed into the river."

Taft Wireback reports for the Greensboro News & Record June 22, 2014.

Monday, June 23, 2014