Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
Coal company cited for polluting branch in Floyd County
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2005) - The Kentucky Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement (DMRE) has cited a coal company for an accident that polluted a small stream with iron sediment on July 29.
Motts Branch Coal Co. was cited for discharging substandard water into Raccoon Branch of Saltlick Creek.
Acting on a citizen's tip, DMRE and Division of Water inspectors found the creek "running red" at a point along Highway 7 in Floyd County, near the line with Magoffin County. They found that a bulldozer being used in construction of a hollowfill had inadvertently dug into a portal of an old, flooded mine. Water surged from the old portal and into a nearby sediment pond, stirring up iron sediment.
The pond began discharging water at approximately 300 gallons per minute. Iron levels were greater than acceptable standards, though the degree of acidity and alkalinity was not out of compliance.
An "imminent danger cessation order" and a notice of non-compliance were issued, requiring the company to stop the discharge and bring the water into compliance with standards for water quality and effluent limits. The company began immediate mobilization, building a berm to slow the water flowing from the opening. Inspectors returned July 30 to ensure that the abatement had been completed. No fish kill or other aquatic damage has been reported. DMRE personnel are awaiting final lab results before assessing civil penalties.