Coal Ash Spill Hits West Virginia

On the heels of the massive chemical leak that made the water in Charleston, West Virginia undrinkable, more than 100,000 gallons of toxic coal ash slurry has leaked into a river in Kanawha County. This also comes soon after a much bigger coal ash leak in North Carolina.

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 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.

Thankfully there are no drinking water intakes near the area, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t major damage that will be difficult to clean up. There are sites like this all over the country, many of them highly unsafe and at major risk of leaks.

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  • dhall

    It seems that in all of the reports about these spills, the focus has been on humans getting water to drink, which I can certainly understand, but there’s been no mention about fish die-offs or any other related environmental damage. Are these areas already so badly polluted that nothing lives in the impacted rivers and streams anyway, or is it that no one filing the reports cares? Just curious . . .

  • cry4turtles

    Yes, but our future depends on fossil fuel and the job creators who own it. « This is a paraphrase of a letter that PA’s Pat Toomey sent to me yesterday.

  • Alverant

    “there are no drinking water intakes near the area”

    Are you sure about that? What does the wild life drink? Where do the local moonshiners and mountain men get their water?



  • abear

    No need to worry. The coal involved is good clean American coal. It doesn’t create greenhouse gases or pollution. The environmentalists need to focus on blocking dirty Canadian oil.

  • Brandon

    With all of the faux wars on [blank], why can’t we have an actual war on coal?

  • freehand

    Keep a balanced perspective on these issues, folks. Last month the neighbor’s solar panels broke in a windstorm and the next day we found sunlight spilled all over the block. It looks weeks for men in haz-mat suits to clean it up.I think some got on my cat.

  • freehand

    took weeks…

  • Johnny Vector

    Fear of coal plants is to fear of nuclear plants as fear of driving is to fear of flying. The former kills way more people than the latter, but in both cases it does so in small batches that don’t attract as many eyeballs, so they mostly don’t show up in the news. Leading to severe distortions of perceived risk. It’s good to see at least some reporting about damage from coal plants. Now if they would actually report how often this happens, so people don’t think it’s just a one-off issue that will never happen again…

  • Olav

    Patriot Coal? Really?

  • Why are people putting their leaky ash holes near water?

  • Olav, patriot coal is a company specifically designed to go bankrupt and discharge pension costs onto the federal government. No joke.

    The other company was freedom industries.


  • Ichthyic

    que the libertarians about businesses self regulating….

  • Ichthyic


    oh, I think this is even beyond what Orwell imagined for the future, and more like what he remembered from the past.

  • It [took] weeks for men in haz-mat suits to clean it up.I think some got on my cat.

    You need men in haz-cheezburger suits to get that stuff off your cat.

  • Raging Bee:

    I think t hat you might have given me an idea. Instead of having one of those websites with teh kittehs or puppehs, it would be cook to have one with massive fish kills, beaching whales, oil coated seabirds and the like. The blogs name could be, “kin Haz Habitat?”

  • mobius

    We have seen several major environmental disasters in the last few months, all of them resulting in part from little to no effective regulation.

    This, IMHO, puts the lie to the Libertarian (of the Ayn Rand stripe) position that the free market will keep such things from happening and no regulation is needed. What we see instead is a drive to maximize profits now and to H3ll with the future.

  • slavdude

    Ichthyic @14:

    oh, I think this is even beyond what Orwell imagined for the future, and more like what he remembered from the past.

    Orwell was an optimist.