RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- -

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has made an unannounced visit to the coal ash spill near the Virginia border and says the serious spill needs to be brought under control as soon as possible.

McCrory traveled to the Duke Energy plant Thursday and made his first public statement on the spill.

McCrory worked for Duke for 28 years before retiring to launch his first campaign for governor in 2008. Watchdog groups have questioned whether the Republican governor's close ties to Duke executives have influenced how aggressively his administration regulates the company.

Meanwhile, state regulators and an environmental group issued differing data Thursday about the levels of toxins detected in a North Carolina river following a massive spill of coal ash. The spill has not affected drinking water for the nearest town, Danville, Va.