DEP: Hughes Creek Conditions are Stable, Residents Return Home
March 14, 2015 2:17 p.m.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection reported in an email that conditions at the Hughes Creek area mine stabilized Saturday afternoon. The DEP says, "... there is nothing to indicate an imminent threat" and residents could return to their homes. About 54 people had sheltered at Riverside High School on Friday night. DEP officials were concerned that the mine could fail.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is reporting that residents in the Hughes Creek community are being called to evacuate "out of an abundance of caution." A possible mine blowout above U.S. Route 60 could prevent emergency services from being able to access the community in eastern Kanawah County.
Shelter is being set up at Riverside High School and plans are in motion to provide hotel accommodations for area residents.
From the DEP: An engineer has been brought in to evaluate the mine, which has been discharging water since last weekend. The water has been pooling in and muddying the yards of five nearby residences. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has been monitoring the mine discharge and overseeing construction of a ditch to divert water away from the homes. Today’s heavy rain, however, overwhelmed the ditch. Additionally, the amount of water discharging from the mine has increased. Plans are being made to mobilize a drill to the site to be used to help determine the extent of the mine pool (water in the mine). Dye testing on a nearby stream is under way to help identify the source or sources of the water entering the mine and being discharged.