Coal Tattoo

Pa. thinks CONSOL to blame for fish kill


While I was busy blogging about the big Army Corps of Engineers public hearing on mountaintop removal, my buddy Don Hopey at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was tracking down the latest on the Dunkard Creek fish kill.

He’s got the story, and here’s what he says:

A heretofore undisclosed underground flow of mine pool water between Consol Energy’s Blacksville No. 1 and No. 2 mines may have contributed to the highly salty, polluted discharges that caused the massive, month-long fish kill on Dunkard Creek.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said stream sampling shows discharges high in dissolved solids and chlorides from Consol Energy’s Blacksville No. 2 Mine are the “primary immediate source” of the fish kill that last month wiped out aquatic life on 35 miles of the 38-mile stream that meanders along the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border.

In addition, Don writes:

The Pennsylvania DEP has also asked the West Virginia DEP, in a letter dated Oct. 2, to “take necessary enforcement measures” to control pollution discharges of total dissolved solids, chlorides and sulfides from the Blacksville No. 2 mine treatment facility.

That treatment facility stopped treating and pumping mine water into the creek as the fish kill progressed last month, but Pennsylvania DEP wants assurances that the earlier pollution loads will not resume when it becomes necessary for Consol to resume pumping water out of its active mine.