UPDATED: Mining official says ice caused valve to malfunction - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

UPDATED: Mining official says ice caused valve to malfunction; leak coal slurry

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UPDATE:

A mining official announced the DEP determined the coal slurry leak was caused by ice.

According to Harold Ward, acting mining director for the WV DEP's Division of Mining and Reclamation, a three or four month old valve malfunctioned due to ice.

Ward said the site is inspected every 30 days even though there are no specific regulations relating to the pipes or valves.  The last inspection was at the end of Jan.

The DEP said they will begin looking at other sites with similar valves.

The cause of the faulty alarm system has not been determined.

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UPDATE:

WV DEP says that a coal slurry spill in Kanawha County, WV shouldn't affect drinking water sources.

The DEP says the spill isn't expected to have a major impact on the Kanawha River, but about half a mile downstream from Fields Creek, the site of the spill, evidence of the coal slurry was seen, according to a release from the DEP.

According to the release, the nearest surface public water intake is located in Huntington, WV and is about 115 stream miles away.  The nearest ground water intake is about 75 miles away in Mason, WV.

Huntington and Mason officials have been told about the spill.  The Ohio EPA was also notified.

Inspectors took samples on Tuesday at multiple locations along Fields Creek and the Kanawha River.

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UPDATE:

Officials with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection say about 108,000 gallons of slurry spilled from the Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant into a nearby creek.

The DEP is putting containment measures in place, including damming the creek. However, officials say some slurry has already reached the Kanawha River.

The slurry line rupture happened sometime between midnight and 5:30 Tuesday morning. Workers at the plant shut down the slurry lines and called the state emergency spill line at 7:42 a.m.

13 News has discovered this is not the first incident at the site. According to documents from the DEP, the Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant received a violation in November 2013 for discharging black liquid into South Hollow. The plant was violated again in October 2010 for a slurry line break.

DEP officials say penalty action against the company for this spill is still pending.

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UPDATE, 4:30 p.m., Feb. 11:

Janine Orf, vice president — Investor Relations at Patriot Coal, issued a statement about the Feb. 11 coal slurry leak at its Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant near Winifrede, WV.

"Mine personnel provided notification to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and all pumping related to the slurry line was promptly discontinued and the discharge ceased," according to the statement. "Containment activity began immediately at the site and is continuing in Fields Creek and is our top priority.

"Cleanup activities are underway and will continue until state regulatory officials determine the spill is remediated."

The statement goes on to explain the coal slurry material is primarily a mixture of fine coal, rock and water. Recent testing initiated by the Kanawha Eagle Mining complex confirmed that the level of MCHM is far below the 1 part per million screening level set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MCHM was spilled into the Elk River Jan. 9 by Freedom Industries, causing a "do not use" water advisory for 300,000 people, which lasted for several days.

Patriot's statement says MCHM "in most instances was non-detectable," and that information about its spill has been shared with the Department of Environmental Protection.

"We are fully cooperating with the Department of Environmental Protection in its investigation of this event, including providing information requested by the agency," the statement reads. "We will continue to work with the Department of Environmental Protection regarding the containment and cleanup activities."

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UPDATE:

Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant near Winifrede, WV reported a coal slurry leak at about 7:30 a.m. today, Feb. 11.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection sent inspectors to the scene of the spill, according to a release from the DEP.

Slurry pumps at the plant were shut down after the leak was discovered.  According to the DEP, containment measures were taken along Fields Creek, a Kanawha River tributary already affected by the leak.

The release states a company representative told the DEP that the facility uses a frothing chemical called Flomin 110-C.  That chemical contains MCHM.

DEP inspectors are taking samples to be tested in South Charleston.

The release says there are no public water intakes immediately downstream from the site.  West Virginia American Water says in a release that they are monitoring their Huntington water treatment plant but do not expect it to be impacted by the spill.

The DEP says "enforcement action against the company is pending."

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ORIGINAL:

A plant near Winifrede, WV reported a coal slurry leak at about 7:30 a.m. Feb. 11.

The Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant said its  had a slurry line rupture sometime between midnight and 5:30 a.m.

According to emergency officials, Fields Creek has been contaminated by the spill. Fields Creek runs into the Kanawha River and officials believe the spill has reached the river but say there are no public water intakes downstream. 

Laura Jordon, West Virginia American Water spokeswoman, said in a release the company does not think the leak will impact the treatment plant on the Elk River.

Tests are being taken from the mouth of Fields Creek and the prep plant.

The amount of slurry leaked isn't yet known.

UPDATED: Mining official says ice caused valve to malfunction; leak coal slurry