W.Va. coal prep plant spills slurry into creek

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WINIFREDE, W.Va. (AP) – An unknown amount of coal slurry containing the chemical crude MCHM spilled from a preparation plant into a tributary of the Kanawha River Tuesday, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said.


Crude MCHM is the same chemical that spilled from a Freedom Industries storage tank into the Elk River in Charleston Jan. 9, tainting the water supply of 300,000 residents in nine counties.


The slurry spilled into Fields Creek from the Kanawha Eagle preparation plant near Winifrede sometime between midnight Monday and 5:30 a.m. when a slurry line ruptured. There are not any public water intakes immediately downstream from the plant, Aluise said in a news release.


West Virginia American Water said it does not expect the slurry spill to affect its treatment plant on the Elk River.


“Our employees are working on behalf of our customers with local and state officials to gather additional information. We have been in contact with the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, which concurs that they do not anticipate any impact to our plant on the Elk River,” West Virginia American Water spokeswoman Laura Jordan said in a statement.


Crews were working to contain the spill Tuesday, Aluise said.


The company told the DEP that the plant uses Flomin 110-C, a frothing chemical that contains crude MCHM. Inspectors with the DEP collected water samples from the creek on Tuesday for testing to be conducted by ALS Laboratory in South Charleston, Aluise said.


Aluise said enforcement against is pending against the company.


A Patriot Coal spokesman did not have an immediate comment on the spill.


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