- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Duke Energy have come to an agreement over how to handle the continuing clean-up of the Dan River in North Carolina, where 39,000 tons of coal ash spilled into the river on February 2 from one of the utility's coal ash ponds.
- The EPA will work with federal wildlife officials to clean-up the river under the Superfund Law, which is usually used to clean-up abandoned hazardous waste sites. Duke will reimburse all government agencies involved in the oversight and emergency response.
- The agreement does not name further fines against Duke. Federal prosecutors have 23 Grand Jury subpoenas open against the company, state regulators, and politicians.
The agreement is "a significant milestone" in the clean-up effort, according to Duke. The utility is currently considering how to close down or retire other coal ash ponds in the state. The utility has over 100 million tons of coal ash stored in 33 ponds throughout the state.
Duke has already begun vacuuming three deposits of ash on the riverbed. Most of the coal ash and other elements that spilled into the river have sunk to the bottom, according to environmental workers.
Without the clean-up operation, the spill posed a "substantial threat" to public and ecological health, according to the EPA. Wildlife officials are to begin testing fish for toxins in coal ash, and the public has been advised not to eat any fish caught downstream of the spill.