"Raleigh, N.C. — When 39,000 tons of coal ash spilled into North Carolina's Dan River in February, it grabbed national headlines and raised the ire of environmentalists. But by sheer numbers, the 14 coal ash ponds spread across North Carolina pale in comparison to the nearly 3,000 various waste sites across the state. That includes decommissioned industrial facilities, abandoned dry cleaners and old landfills.
Despite the sometimes active threats to water or air, many of these sites take years or decades to clean up, if they're cleaned up at all. And the fund to clear out the contamination can't keep up."