By John Upton
13 Februry 2014

(Grist) – The coal power industry has dumped a lot of toxic crap into yet another river. This latest incident is not to be confused with the spill of toxic coal-cleaning chemicals that poisoned a West Virginia river last month and left 300,000 people without drinking water. Nor is it to be confused with a huge coal-ash spill from a retired power plant in North Carolina earlier this month.

No, this is a whole new spill.

Patriot Coal accidentally let more than 100,000 gallons of coal slurry loose from a coal processing facility in West Virginia. Six miles of Fields Creek, which flows into the Kanawha River, was blackened by the slurry spill. The slurry contained fine particles of processed coal, which includes heavy metals, and coal-cleaning chemicals.

Coal slurry coats the hand of Director of Programs Dr. Matt Wasson following a slurry spill into Fields Creek in Kanawha County, West Virginia, on Tuesday, 11 February 2014. Photo: Matt Wasson / Appalachian Voices

“When this much coal slurry goes into the stream, it wipes the stream out,” said Randy Huffman, head of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). “This has had significant, adverse environmental impact to Fields Creek and an unknown amount of impact to the Kanawha River.” But officials say drinking water has not been affected, at least not yet.

The nonprofit Appalachian Voices has conducted tests of the affected area: “The water in the creek was extremely turbid and was a dark grey, almost black color. Significant sediment had already built up on the banks,” the group reports. [more]

Another day, another river ruined by a big coal-industry spill

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous said...

    Calls for the kind of oversight that may have prevented this in West Virginia went unheeded by state and local lawmakers. The people of West Virginia vote those lawmakers into power. The people are learning the hard way. But is it hard enough?  

  2. Anonymous said...

    Conservatives by various "names" (a few which I have are unpolite) want to abolish the EPA. They "think" (I know, I'm stretching the term) that doing away with the Clean Water Act will actually "help" America.

    They're not bright enough to remember the polluted streams and rivers of the 70's.

    Fast forward to the new millenium. They're STILL claiming that we don't need any environmental protections. Exploiting the environment for profit is all they care about.

    We have all these idiots to thank for water the burns, air that stinks, and toxic food and millions of cases of cancers, disease and deaths.  

 

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