A study released last Wednesday by researchers at Duke University found one of the chemical compounds found in wells contaminated by coal ash can be found in water unrelated to the coal ash spill.
Last year, the carcinogenic compound Hexavalent Chromium was found in private wells, and was suspected of coming from the ash from Duke Energy’s nearby power plants. But the study found contamination from the compound occurred in high levels regardless of distance from coal ash ponds.
Avner Vengosh, a professor of earth and ocean sciences at Duke University and author of the study, said the researchers examined sites contaminated by coal ash in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.
"In all the cases we saw evidence for leaking of the coal ash ponds into groundwater, into surface water," Vengosh said.
It also found that the geochemical characteristics of groundwater with high Hexavalent Chromium levels are different from that of the well water contaminated by coal ash.