Mooresville residents pack meeting to talk coal ash concerns

Mooresville residents pack meeting to talk coal ash concerns
(Amanda Foster/WBTV)

MOORESVILLE, NC (WBTV) - Mooresville families are learning more about coal ash concerns in their area, and it is all because of social media.

"It was hundreds and hundreds of comments," Amber Haines says.

Haines' Nextdoor post turned into a Facebook group of more than 1,000 people, which turned into a meeting with standing room only of concerned Mooresville neighbors. They met with Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins as their speaker.

"I think it's just fear-based," Haines says. "We're all scared."

That fear stems from Duke Energy coal ash, something that has been in the headlines for years. But for the first time, it is grabbing hundreds of people's attention in Mooresville.

"The awareness is growing," Haines says. "But it needs to grow faster."

There has been great concern over Duke's coal ash ponds leaking into water supplies in North Carolina, including the Marshall power plant, near Lake Norman.

These neighbors all wonder about a possible impact on their health.

"I just feel bad for everybody, because there's really nothing we feel like we can do," Jennifer Brown says. "We just feel helpless."

Brown's family is on well water. She battled thyroid cancer last year, later learning several of her neighbors had the same thing.

There has been no definitive link from coal ash to cancer or any other illness. Still, Brown says she wonders.

"I grew up here," she says. "I'm just shocked that this can happen."

For Haines, she is thinking about her two kids. They are why she is not taking any chances.

"We are on strictly bottled water until we are on full house filtration system," she says.

And, they are why she is pouring hours of her own time into finding answers.

"As soon as my kids go to sleep at night, just reading about this," she says.

The neighbors discussed what they could do moving forward. Some of Perkins' suggestions were to contact local politicians, and check individual well water.

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