Environmentalist Group Says Coal Ash May Have Killed Clams

Danville, VA - Thousands of clams have washed up on the banks of the Dan River and some environmentalists suspect it could be because of the coal ash spill.

For Morris Lawson, fishing on the Dan River has become part of his life. So the coal ash spill hit him hard.
"It broke my heart really. I was kind of like married to this river. My wife claims I stay here more than I do at home. It's kind of like getting a divorce," said Lawson.
In the aftermath of the spill, Lawson noticed an unusual amount of clam shells pilling up on the banks in Danville. So he contacted Project Manager of the Dan River Basin Association Brian Williams.
"We're seeing more than average. Especially from the spill site on down," said Williams.
Williams says starting a couple weeks ago they've noticed thousands of Asian clam shells, much greater than what would be expected. He says there's no data to prove how many have surfaced or why but they guess the coal ash spill can be to blame.
"If a lot of them were covered up by the initial spill and the initial ash, I would expect they would die and the shells would pop open and they float downstream," said Williams.
Williams tells us these shells can indicate a bigger issue.
"If they've had a problem, then there is something wrong with the water," said Williams.
The water that Lawson fell in love with.
"The smallest part of the food chain starting to get wiped out. It's going to move its way up to the fish," said Lawson.
Williams says the Dan River Basin Association is doing a study to hopefully better understand the long term effects this could have. He says if you see something unusual regarding the river to please contact them.