CHARLOTTE -- Nearly a month after the coal ash spill, environmental demonstrators aren't going away quietly in their frustrations with Duke Energy.
Dozens gathered Tuesday at the company's headquarters, taking customers' concerns to their front door.
"The Dan River coal ash spill has really been a wake-up call here in North Carolina about how inadequate our clean water safeguards are when it comes to toxic coal ash pollution," said Mary Ann Hitt of the Sierra Club.
Demonstrators say they delivered a petition with 9,000 signatures urging Duke Energy officials to clean up the mess and not pass those costs onto customers.
"They need to pay it themselves. We've already had enough rate hikes. We don't need one more," said James Tyson.
In a statement, Duke Energy reiterated that, “We will not ask customers to pay the costs associated with the Dan River incident, and drinking water is safe. Ongoing water sampling demonstrates the Dan River is returning to pre-event water quality conditions."
Demonstrators wanted to go inside to deliver the petition but were stopped. A Duke representative did come out and take the petition, but this group says it's just the beginning.
"We are going to keep working to clean up toxic coal ash all across N.C. until all of these sites, which are really ticking time bombs for people's drinking water supplies is cleaned up," said Hitt.
Duke Energy officials said the company has permanently plugged the storm water pipes that caused the coal ash spill.
The company's scientists continue to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies on a long term cleanup plan for the Dan River.