Locals organize water delivery today in Dukeville

Published 12:10 am Friday, June 10, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — Residents of the Dukeville community will distribute an estimated 3,000 gallons of water today to people who live within a half mile of Buck Steam Station’s coal ash ponds.

After a majority of water wells near Buck Steam Station last year were declared unsafe for consumption, Duke Energy began regularly delivering water to some houses in the Dukeville area. State officials later switched their decision, and lifted a “do not drink” advisory for the water wells, but Duke Energy said it would keep delivering water.

Residents who live near Buck Steam Station’s coal ash ponds, including some outside of the testing radius used by state environmental regulators, have refused to drink well water.

Deborah Graham, a Dukeville resident and environmental activist, has organized a water giveaway today for anyone within a half-mile radius of coal ash ponds, including those who have and haven’t received water from Duke Energy.

Graham estimates she has 3,000 gallons, which were provided by Niagra Bottling, to give away. She said residents who live within a half mile of Buck Steam Station and want to receive water should show up at Bethel United Methodist Church between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. today. Bethel United Methodist Church is located at 2380 Long Ferry Road.

She said people will begin unload water at about 4 p.m. and a press conference will be held at about 4:30 p.m. If people show up before 5 p.m. and water has been unloaded, Graham said, volunteers would start loading vehicles of local residents early.

“We want to try and cover people that Duke has denied with water deliveries,” Graham said.

Currently, Duke Energy is delivered bottled water to about 80 residents near Buck Steam Station, according to company spokesman Jeff Brooks.

“While many of the do-not-drink letters from the state have been rescinded, we understand that residents may still have concerns about their water supply,” Brooks said in an email. “We have elected to continue supplying water to residents who have requested it while they review information from the state and seek clarity on questions about their water supply.”

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.