Coal ash pits: Duke Energy tells neighbors to waive claims

Neighbors living near Duke Energy Corp's coal-ash pits in North Carolina are being told they have to give up the option of suing over any future water problems if they want extra compensation from the utility.

The country's largest electricity company says in letters to about 1,000 homeowners near 13 of its coal-burning power plants that it will require a lawsuit waiver if neighbors want to collect a $5,000 "goodwill" payment and 25 years' worth of water bills for new municipal connections.

The company also is providing compensation for lost home resale values.

Thursday marked three years since liquefied coal ash containing arsenic, lead and other heavy metals spilled from a Duke plant into the Dan River along the Virginia line.

The ash byproduct remains after decades of burning coal for electricity.