Exclusive: ABC 13 Tests Water In Danville For Arsenic And Other - WSET.com - ABC13

Exclusive: ABC 13 Tests Water In Danville For Arsenic And Other Metals


Danville, VA - Tens of thousands of tons of coal ash leaked from a Duke Energy plant in Eden, North Carolina and traveled downstream through Danville. ABC 13 wanted to figure out on our own how safe the water really is.

Our reporter used an at-home water testing kit on the water in the river and from the tap.

The water testing kits look for arsenic and other heavy metals. We took several samples from different places along the river in Danville, as well as out of the tap.

We looked to see how much arsenic we could detect in the river. The first kit, we took four different river samples at different locations but all came back with the same result. The same kit had another test, this one looking for which metals are present. Half of the results came back as none, the others showed traces of cadmium.

Our next test came back showing between 50 and 75 parts per billion of arsenic, more than Danville Water Treatment Director, Barry Dunkley says he's seen.

"In the river, some arsenic levels looked like the highest that I've seen has been in the 20s," said Dunkley.

The EPA set the standard for drinking water at 10 parts per billion of arsenic. Next, we tested the tap water. We didn't find any arsenic but traces of zinc.

"Some of that may come from the plumbing fixtures themselves," said Dunkley.

Test two showed zero parts per billion of arsenic. Dunkley says they remove arsenic in the treatment process.

"It's definitely safe to drink," said Dunkley.

"It does make sense. And in some ways it's similar to the testing that we did," said Matt Wasson, Director of Programs for Appalachian Voices.

Wasson says they've partnered with Duke University to test the water.

"They certainly found detectable levels of arsenic the day or two after the spill, but it wasn't high enough to trigger drinking water concerns," said Wasson.

Wasson says the biggest worry for them isn't the drinking water but the impact on the environment.

"While there's potentially big impacts from this spill, it's probably not going to be something that is going to compromise people's water, drinking water," said Wasson.

Wasson says they did another water test last week and are still waiting on those results. Meanwhile, the Danville Water Treatment Plant says they test our water multiple times every day.

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