January 18, 2010
Gray and muddy water drains into a pond before cascading downstream and across the road. The site of the failed retention pond remains vacant while the Department of Environmental Protection has given no indication that it will take action to check the black water that continues to run into Big Creek.
A gushing spill from a failed retention pond that began last night continues today, despite the state Department of Environmental Protection having been notified last night. The gray and muddy water is spilling out of Appalachian Fuels’ Big Creek strip mine in Fayette County.
A complaint was called in to the WVDEP Spill Hotline last night by a citizen who spotted the brown water gushing into the Gauley River just a couple of miles upriver from Gauley Bridge around 5:30 pm January 15th. Abandoned Mines Land inspectors visited the site and confirmed that a retention pond had failed. As yet, there appears to be no action to mitigate the spill.
A mile down the road from the retention pond and valleyfill, black water continues to run down the roadway and into Big Creek, which goes on to join the Gauley River downstream. The black water spill will affect residents living downstream from the site, bringing concerns about the environmental repercussions, pollution, and water poisoning.
The failed retention pond is part of a contour mine site operated by Appalachian Fuels above the town of Brownsville, West Virginia. The black water from the spill can be seen muddying the waters of the Gauley River as far downstream as the town of Gauley Bridge.