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Coal Wastewater Spills Into McDowell Creek

Seth Ilys

State regulators say snowmelt has sent wastewater at a former coal impoundment site spilling over sediment control ponds and into a McDowell County creek.

Department of Environmental Protection mining and reclamation acting director Harold Ward said Wednesday the spill occurred in Gary at a site formerly owned by U.S. Steel Mining.

DEP spokesman Tom Aluise says the amount that spilled wasn't immediately known.

The Charleston Gazette reports DEP officials took over the impoundment site a decade ago after a burst drainage pipe sent polluted water into the Tug Fork River. Gary Partners LLC had reactivated the site's mining permit and was more recently recovering buried fine coal particles.

But Ward says a closure order had been issued because Gary Partners had stopped paying the DEP under a royalty-permit deal.

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