It’s a sad day when you find the Charlotte Observer’s June 19, 2010 article entitled Arsenic high in water sample near Duke plant. What’s Duke? An energy company in North Carolina which is apparently dumping arsenic-contaminated water into NC’s Mountain Island Lake, "the major water supply for Charlotte, Gastonia and Mount Holly":

Water near a drainage pipe from Duke Energy’s Riverbend coal-fired power plant on Mountain Island Lake contains arsenic above state standards, Catawba Riverkeeper David Merryman said this week.

A water sample collected near the discharge point of the plant’s coal-ash basins had an arsenic concentration of 26 parts per billion, Merryman said. N.C. standards say the safe level in water-supply lakes such as Mountain Island is 10 ppb or less.

Of course, Duke responds that lake water more distant from its dumping area shows lesser (and finally no) signs of arsenic or other contaminants. So that makes it okay, according to Duke. It even sounds kind of okay, unless you read the rest of the article.

When we first moved to Charlotte, before we had our water filter machine hooked up (it took weeks to get a connector for the water faucet), we drank the tap water. After some days of this, I felt a burning sensation in my stomach. Not good. We went onto bottled water.

That’s not to say that the water in our old habitat, Los Angeles, was great either.

I really don’t see why companies can’t simply do the right thing. If what you’re doing is causing such great environmental and human distress, fix it. Filter the water. We do.

Shades of Erin Brockovich. And kudos to the Charlotte Observer for posting the article.

Thanks to SunnyKayak at the City-Data forums for the tip: Water sample taken near Duke Energy coal plant high in arsenic

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