From today's News & Record:
Remember the surprise that officials expressed last month on discovering that relatively weak, corrugated metal made up part of the pipe that ruptured, causing the massive Feb. 2 spill?
The pipe was one of two drainage culverts running under the Dan River ash basin, both of which were designed to carry uncontaminated stormwater from behind the ash ponds under the polluted basin and out to the river.
Here’s what the 1986, five-year report said about part of the first pipe, the part destined to rupture so dramatically 28 years later:
“Part of this culvert is constructed of corrugated metal pipe which would be expected to have less longevity of satisfactory service than the reinforced concrete pipes,” engineering consultants Clay Sams and Fred Tucker warned Duke and the commission in their 1986 report.
There’s more. Duke’s 1981 report to the commission for the Dan River ash basin singled out the other drainage pipe under the pond, the one that didn’t rupture last month. That report, 33 years ago, suggested additional testing on this second pipe “to check for joint leakage.”
More than three decades later, Duke Energy ran a robot video camera up that second pipe, a week or two after the larger one ruptured to cause the huge spill.
It found joint leakage of polluted water, running down into the second pipe from the contaminated ash pond above and then out toward the river.
Duke knew about the problem for thirty years, but chose to ignore the problem.
Criminal willful negligence.