Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
State honored for mine reclamation project
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 21, 2005) - The Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) has received the National Award for Outstanding Reclamation for the cleanup of a 60-acre coal refuse dump in Floyd County.
In addition, the project - Spewing Camp Branch - received a People’s Choice Award and the Appalachian Regional Award for Outstanding Reclamation from the federal Office of Surface Mining.
The Spewing Camp Branch refuse dump, one of the worst remaining abandoned mine sites in eastern Kentucky, involved the reclamation of an area that had been idle since 1973.
"The completion of this project eliminated the hazards associated with this AML site," said Susan Bush, commissioner of the Department for Natural Resources. "Citizens downstream from the site no longer see coal waste eroding into the creek and causing periodic flooding and water quality problems. The site is no longer a blight and is a success attributable to the AML program in the state."
From 1952 to 1973 the site received coal refuse from a nearby coal preparation facility. Over 7 million cubic yards of refuse was dumped from an aerial tram that transported the material from the coal washer. The pile was up to 165 feet deep in the middle.
The site was formally abandoned in 1981 and had no vegetation. Erosion caused coal sediment to wash into a stream, clogging the channel and polluting the water more than a mile away into the Left Fork of Beaver Creek. Giant gullies over 10 feet deep eroded into the sides of the refuse pile.
The Kentucky AML program began construction work on the site in late 2002 under a contract with Hawkeye Construction Co. LLC, of Robinson, Ky. Hawkeye completed the majority of the reclamation within a year and the contract was closed in October 2004.
The project cost $3,571,367, which included the cost of two satellite projects to generate an earthen cover for the large mine dump.