[Ed. – Reminder: it’s the EPA-mandated coal-washing chemical that creates the contamination.]
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More than 100,000 gallons of coal slurry poured into an eastern Kanawha County stream Tuesday in what officials were calling a “significant spill” from a Patriot Coal processing facility.
Emergency officials and environmental inspectors said that roughly six miles of Fields Creek had been blackened and that a smaller amount of the slurry made it into the Kanawha River near Chesapeake.
“There has been a significant environmental impact,” said Harold Ward, acting director of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Mining and Reclamation.
The incident occurred at Patriot Coal’s Kanawha Eagle operation, Ward said.
Initially, Dale Petry, director of emergency services for Kanawha County, said that an eight-inch slurry line between the preparation plant and the company’s refuse impoundment ruptured, sending an underdetermined amount of coal waste into the creek before the flow was stopped.
Later, DEP officials said they had determined that the spill was caused by a malfunction of a valve inside the slurry line carrying material from the preparation plant to a separate disposal site, not to an impoundment.