Henderson council learns of coal ash water testing

Jun. 23, 2014 @ 10:05 PM

Regularly scheduled water testing conducted at the Henderson treatment plant following the coal ash spill in the Dan River finished Feb. 28.

But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can take event samples upstream of Kerr Lake in Virginia at Clarksville and South Boston Kerr Reservoir

Kerr Lake Regional Water System Director Christy Lipscomb said event samples are taken when extreme weather events occur.

“If we were to get a huge amount of rain or thunderstorms or hurricanes, then EPA will send bottles out and samples will be done,” she said at the Henderson City Council meeting Monday night. “It’s done in in anticipation of a storm, during a storm and after a storm, and that is how they are going to tell if heavy metals are moving downstream.”

Lipscomb presented information to the council about testing done in the aftermath of the Feb. 2 spill at the Dan River Steam Station in Eden. She also fielded questions during Monday’s work session.

Only councilman Jim Kearney asked a question, and councilwoman Brenda Peace-Jenkins was absent Monday night.

City Manger Ray Griffin pointed out that the water intake of the Henderson Water Reclamation Facility is about 10 miles from the main channel along the Dan River.

“I just think it’s important for us to understand we are not on the main channel,” he said. “And that distance of 10 miles also gives us some buffer from the flow of any residue from the spill. I think that’s to our benefit.”

In other business:

· The council approved the comprehensive master plan for the Recreation and Parks Department. The plan is used to apply for relevant grant funding and prioritize capital projects. The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments was contracted to develop the master plan, which anticipates population growth and demographic trends in the area.

· The council received an update on the North Carolina Department of Transportation project to widen Chavasse Avenue. Board members decided to table a vote at the May 12 meeting because of concerns with a few areas of the agreement drafted by the state.

One provision stated the city would be responsible for any cost of the project that exceeds $700,000. Assistant City Manager Frank Frazier said the city would be allowed to review the project bids before moving ahead.

Another provision stated the state transportation department would not be held responsible for any damage or liability during the construction of the project. Frazier said the city would not be held liable during construction.


Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.