WHARTON, W.Va. (AP) – State environmental officials are investigating a chemical spill from a Boone County coal operation that turned a river into a shade of milky white.
Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kathy Cosco says more than 2,000 gallons spilled into the Pond Fork River near Wharton. Cosco says the nontoxic substance is sprayed on coal and rail cars to help minimize the spread of dust.
Cosco says the spill came from Patriot Coal subsidiary Eastern Associated Coal. Patriot says the spill occurred Wednesday night and that the DEP was contacted immediately.
Media outlets report a five-mile stretch of the river is covered by the chemical.
Cosco says no fish kills have been reported and residents are being urged not to swim in the water or drink it while cleanup continues.