RALEIGH, N.C. -- On the same day a state judge in Raleigh ordered Duke Energy to take immediate action to eliminate the environmental threat of coal ash dumps near rivers and lakes, a neighbor to Duke s Cliffside coal plant along the Broad River is coping with a new leak.

Guy Hutchins retired from the City of Charlotte to run the Rivermist Retreat Center, a series of cabins along the Broad River on the Cleveland-Rutherford County line.

They are basically sinkholes that have water flow in them, said Hutchins, staring into one of several sinkholes about 2 feet wide and more than ten feet deep next to a dirt road he owns running beside the banks of the Broad River.

NBC Charlotte photojournalist John Gray lowered a GoPro waterproof video camera and a tiny LED flashlight on a telescoping pole into the hole to capture video and audio of the steady underground stream.

The video (above) reveals not a gush, but a steady flow of water from the direction of a large earthen dam holding back the coal ash and running under Hutchins property.

Water comes underneath this road and comes out there next to the (Broad) river, said Hutchins.

Duke holds a NPDES permit for water flowing off the coal ash pond at Cliffside and into the Broad River, but Thursday the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) cited Duke for leaks in the toe of the dam at Cliffside.

The seeps spotted by Hutchins appear to flow from the berm at Cliffside toward the Broad River.

Last June during a tour of Cliffside sponsored by Duke Energy, spokeswoman Lisa Parrish assured us the discharge from the coal ash ponds were legal.

We re in compliance with ever-increasing state and federal environmental legislation and requirements, said Parrish.

But Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins has spotted seeps at coal ash dumps at the Riverbend coal plant on Mountain Island Lake and the Allen plant on Lake Wylie. Both lakes are used as water supplies for more than a million people in the greater Charlotte area.

Guy Hutchins is worried about the sinkholes eroding his road. Eventually it will probably wash it out, he said.

But he is also concerned about water quality in the Broad River, where he lives and rents out cabins. When the overflow comes over the dam everything just goes right straight into the river, he said.

So while Hutchins worries about a big gush like the spill at the Dan River last month, he also can t stop thinking about the drip-drip-drip running underground.

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