UPDATE: Coal Company Fined for Kanawha Slurry Spill

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email
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UPDATE 6/11/14 @ 2 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A Kanawha County coal prep plant has been ordered to pay a $72,245 fine for a slurry spill into a creek in February.

The state Department of Environmental Protection announced the fine Wednesday against Patriot Coal.

The spill happened at the Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant in Winifrede on February 11.

The DEP says a malfunction along the pipeline resulted in a company-estimated 108,000 gallons of slurry being released into Fields Creek, a tributary of the Kanawha River. The spill impacted roughly six miles of the stream.

The company estimated 108,000 gallons of slurry spilled into Fields Creek, a Kanawha River tributary. The spill impacted about 6 miles of stream.

A DEP order after the spill temporarily halted work at the plant, except for cleanup.



UPDATE 2/11/14 @ 11:20 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia American Water says they are monitoring a coal slurry leak in the Kanawha River, but they do no anticipate it impacting water in Huntington.

When this coal slurry spilled into Fields Creek on Tuesday morning, no alarm sounded.

"There's a system in place to give warning if a valve or something failed, and apparently it didn't work, and I don't have all the answers to that. Three hours of it running before anyone knew to shut it off is unacceptable," Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman said.

Company officials at Kanawha Eagle's prep plant, owned by Patriot Coal, alerted the DEP about the spill around 7:30 in the morning.

Huffman says no MCHM was being used in the compound that spilled in the water or at the plant at all.

"They have a container of MCHM on site waiting to be hauled off, that's where they believe the smell is coming from," Huffman said.

The prep plant had recently replaced MCHM with another chemical, which is what spilled.

It is called Propylene glycol, and is said to be much less harmful that MCHM.

Yet, for those living close by, it doesn't matter.

"I don't trust anything the say. In fact we're thinking seriously about opening our well back up," said Nancy Stover, who lives beside the creek.

Huffman doesn't believe the spill will reach into the homes of those nearby, or the water treatment plant in Huntington, which is about 100 miles away by river system.



UPDATE 2/11/14 @ 3 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia American Water says they are monitoring a coal slurry leak in the Kanawha River, but they do no anticipate it impacting water in Huntington.

DEP officials tell WSAZ.com that a slurry line ruptured sometime between midnight and 5:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant, owned by Patriot Coal, in Winifrede. The spill was discovered at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday. The spill was reported to the county's spill line at 7:42 a.m.

The slurry line runs from the prep plant to the slurry impoundment on the property.

It is unclear how much of the slurry spilled.

Laura Jordan with WVAW says the Huntington plant is located on the Ohio River, more than 100 river miles away from the leak.

"We anticipate no impact to the Huntington water system due to river flow and dilution; however, we continue to work with state health officials and ORSANCO to monitor at points along the Ohio River," Jordan said.

WVAW says they have been in contact with the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health. They say the bureau agrees that they do not anticipate any impact to the Huntington plant.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 2/11/14 @ 1:45 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Results from the water samples taken from the scene of a slurry spill in eastern Kanawha County are expected to back in 24 hours.

DEP officials tell WSAZ.com that a slurry line ruptured sometime between midnight and 5:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant, owned by Patriot Coal, in Winifrede. The spill was discovered at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday. The spill was reported to the county's spill line at 7:42 a.m.

The slurry line runs from the prep plant to the slurry impoundment on the property.

It is unclear how much of the slurry spilled.

DEP officials tell WSAZ.com the slurry did get into Fields Creek and there is evidence it also got into into the Kanawha River. Our crew at the scene says there is a black film in the river and a faint licorice smell in the area near the spill.

DEP spokesperson Tom Aluise tells WSAZ.com, the company used a chemical that is equivalent to MCHM.

MCHM is the same chemical that contaminated the water for 300,000 people when it spilled into the Elk River on January 9th.

DEP officials tell WSAZ.com the nearest water intake from Tuesday's spill is Huntington, 95 stream miles away from the spill. There is a well field in Mason County about 75 miles away. Both counties have been notified about the spill.

DEP crews took water samples from the river. The results are expected to be back in 24 hours.

West Virginia American Water released a statement shortly after the spill saying that the Kanawha Valley Treatment Plant is not affected by the leak.

WVAW says employees are working with local and state officials to gather more information.

WVAW says they have been in contact with the WV Bureau for Public Health, who also said they do not anticipate any impact to the Elk River plant.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



ORIGINAL STORY 2/11/14 @ 10:50 a.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Inspectors with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection are on the scene of a slurry spill in eastern Kanawha County.

DEP officials tell WSAZ.com, a slurry line ruptured sometime between midnight and 5:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant in Winifrede.

The slurry line runs from the prep plant to the slurry impoundment on the property.

It is unclear how much of the slurry spilled. DEP officials tell WSAZ.com, the slurry did get into Fields Creek and there is evidence it also got into into the Kanawha River.

DEP spokesperson, Tom Aluise tells WSAZ.com, the company used a chemical that is equivalent to MCHM.

MCHM is the same chemical that contaminated the water for 300,000 when it spilled into the Elk River on January 9th.

Aluise says there are no drinking water intakes anywhere near the incident and they don't expect any impact on any water systems.

Our crew at the scene says there is a black film in the river and a faint licorice smell in the area near the spill.

West Virginia American Water released a statement shortly after the spill saying that the Kanawha Valley Treatment Plant is not affected by the leak.

WVAW says employees are working with local and state officials to gather more information.

WVAW says they have been in contact with the WV Bureau for Public Health, who also said they do not anticipate any impact to the Elk River plant.

We have a crew headed to the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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