Mystery Murky Messes, Oh My!

Jun 16, 2017

Both major tributaries of the Big Coal River, Marsh Fork and Clear Fork, which form the borders of Coal River Mountain, got a big ol’ dose of nasty pollution on Tuesday, June 13. Horse Creek, which flows into Marsh Fork, had a black, oily mess that looked just like previous spills from Alpha Natural Resources’ treatment ponds at their underground operations at the head of the holler. See the video here. We reported the incident. When the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection inspector showed up, he found the pollution still at the mouth of the creek, but it was clear farther up and there appeared to be no problems at the ANR site. ANR personnel told him they had no spills. Nothing to see here.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the mountain, Clear Fork was running anything but clear. See the video here. The milky gray pollution appeared to originate at an ANR mountaintop removal site on Paint Mountain, across the Clear Fork from Coal River Mountain, but the WVDEP inspector didn’t make it out until the next day. No violations written. More mystery mess. What a day! Ironically (?), the WVDEP was holding a public meeting on water quality standards at the same time. Maybe ANR figured no one would be looking?Horse Creek 6/13/17Clear Fork 6/13/17 (not so clear)


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