Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Up to 50,000 to 82,000 tons of coal ash and up to 27 million gallons of water were dumped into North Carolina’s Dan River, Duke Energy announced Monday. The leak, which began Sunday afternoon, stemmed from a broken pipe underneath a coal ash pond containing the waste left behind from a now-defunct power plant — waste that, according to the Associated Press, contains “arsenic, mercury, lead, and over a dozen other heavy metals, many of them toxic.”
A security guard spotted an unusually low water level in the ash pond about 2 p.m. Sunday, [Duke spokeswoman Erin] Culbert said, leading to the discovery of the pipe break.
Ash was visible on the banks of the Dan River on Monday, and the water was tinted gray.
“While it is early in the investigation and state officials do not yet know of any possible impacts to water quality, staff members have been notifying downstream communities with drinking water intakes,” the North Carolina environmental agency reported late Monday afternoon.
Danville, Va.’s water intake is about 6 miles downstream of the pond.
Barry Dunkley, the city’s water director, said in a release that “all water leaving our treatment facility has met public health standards. We do not anticipate any problems going forward in treating the water we draw from the Dan River.”
Unlike the crisis still unfolding in West Virginia, officials don’t believe that the spill affected the city’s water supply. But the incident does bear some disturbing resemblances to last month’s chemical leak: Like Freedom Industries, Duke Energy is being criticized by environmental groups for waiting a full day before informing the public of what happened, and for not making relevant information — such as the results of water quality tests — immediately available.
Groups have previously filed lawsuits against Duke’s 14 dump sites, attempting to get it to relocate its reserves of coal ash away from major water supplies. The EPA has promised to deliver the first federal ash-handling rules by the end of this year.
Lindsay Abrams is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email email@example.com.More Lindsay Abrams.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.