Over 100,000 gallons of coal slurry leaked from a Patriot Coal processing plant into a tributary of West Virginia’s Kanawha River yesterday, blackening six miles of the creek. The leak comes barely a month after a Freedom Industries chemical spill into the Kanawha polluted the drinking water of 300,000 people.
West Virginia American Water said the most recent spill would not affect the drinking water supply, MSNBC reports.
State environmental protection officials blamed yesterday’s spill on a malfunctioning valve inside a slurry line, CNN says. The state said enforcement action against Patriot is pending.
The company just emerged from bankruptcy in December, Bloomberg reports. It filed in 2012 after a slump in coal prices.
In 2012, Patriot Coal announced it would pay $7.5 million in civil penalties to the federal government and the West Virginia Land Trust to resolve claims relating to the company’s mining activities in West Virginia and levels of selenium on its properties.
In news related to the Freedom Industries spill, West Virginia governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced $650,000 in initial funding to test residents’ water in Charleston and nine surrounding counties.
Takeaway: A Patriot Coal spill into a West Virginia tributary is the second major industrial spill in that state in just over a month.
Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.
Picture credit: FWS.gov