CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Cleanup efforts continued Tuesday night along Fields Creek in eastern Kanawha County following a coal slurry spill at Patriot Coal’s Kanawha Eagle prep plant near Winifrede.

In addition to the cleanup, state Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman said the investigation into the cause of the spill, which involved as much as 100,000 gallons of slurry, was also ongoing.

“We’ll continue to get more facts and more information,” Huffman said at the State Capitol.

The slurry blackened miles Fields Creek, a tributary for the Kanawha River, after it was first detected in the early morning hours on Tuesday.

Reports indicated the spill was reported to state officials before 8 a.m., more than two hours after the line was disconnected to stop the slurry flow once the problem was discovered.

Officials with the state Department of Environmental Protection said the spill started with a broken valve in the line carrying the slurry from the prep plant to a disposal site.

Containment measures were implemented on Fields Creek.

Dale Petry, director of Kanawha County Emergency Services, confirmed some of that slurry did make it to the Kanawha River.

“It traveled down the river about 6/10 of a mile,” Petry confirmed.  “I’m sure there’s been some particles that’s went on further down the river, but they could no longer be seen after approximately 6/10 of a mile.”

He said DuPont and Dow Chemical, which operate water intakes downriver from the spill site, were notified of the slurry spill.  No other water intakes, Petry said, were in danger.

Coal slurry, a solid and liquid waste, is a by-product of the coal mining and preparation process.

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  • hilljack

    Our WV DEP is inept. I can't believe no one has been held accountable or fired yet. What exactly are these inspectors doing? Governor Tomblin needs to clean house at the DEP.

    • Brian

      I only partly agree hilljack. The WVDEP is inept but only because our state legislators are inept at passing the legislation we seek. WVDEP inspectors can do nothing more or less than what is mandated by our wonderful legislature and there are no passed CSRs regarding the issue at hand. Let's not forget their attempt at fracking legislation. The engineers, biologists, hydrologists, and other scientists working for WVDEP recommended like 40 pages of changes in the law, but only like 5 were passed by our legislature. Who knows more about water quality? Who actually passes law to protect it. It's not DEP.

    • Concerned West Virginian

      Everybody is a friend of coal. As such, nobody will be fired nor will any actions be taken to ensure the safety of the citizens. I really mean some citizens. "Corporations are people my friend," - remember that argument and know that the rights of those entities are taken care off. In reference to the DEP - we do not appear to like EPA or any entity that tries to argue for the care of the environment. I believe we can support coal, they are major employers in the state and we need jobs, but we should also protect the health of citizens.

      • Linda Swanson

        You might also add the the poorest part of the state is where the coal mines are located. So much for their great jobs. Tourism will be dead if steps are not taken to protect the state from the coal companies. This probably is another Koch Bros Co. They love the Freedom, Patriot, and Liberty handles. Those two if counted as one are the richest person in the US. They are also the biggest polluters in the US. Is it any wonder they want rid of the EPA so they can pollute to their hearts content. They already have free access to the state of WV. They also are the money behind Americans for Prosperity and some other groups buying up all the time on TV telling you, that you need to deregulate. WV is pretty well deregulated and it does not seem to be working for you? That is unless you like drinking water that is more unsafe than most places in the US. I would love to move home but this is more than I want to deal with. I like to be able to turn my water on in the morning and not have to test taste and smell it.

  • Unioncarpenter

    Sorry!! But it seems Sam has been drinking the water. Please everyone refrain from drinking it or you will end up just like him.

  • Big easy

    The lady that wrote the article "Is West Virginia A Cult?" spot on. Always the victim.

  • Shaking my head...

    We, as West Virginians, bring all of this on ourselves. We are so quick to sale our souls to the coal and chemical industries because of the jobs they create and the income they produce. And I can see how that is very appealing to most, if not all of us.

    But I'm sorry, fellow WVians. We have let these multi million dollar companies come in and run roughshod over us to the point that they have politicians in their back pocket and get away with chewing us up and spitting us out.

    As much as I love this state and it's people.....we deserve every bad thing that happens to us for the ways we have chosen to live our lives....for the ways we have chosen to cast our vote....and for the ways we have turned our head for the almighty dollar.

    I hope we all enjoy it because there isn't an educated human being alive that would ever want to buy our property so we can pack up and get the hell out of here.

  • Sammy

    I use the water to bathe, to do my laundry and yes, even my dishes. But I have not drank tap water in over 25 years. I budget for it and I stockpile it when I find it on sale. Be careful though. There is an expiration date on it.

    I get it that some were affected more than others. But I drained my hot water tank and changed all my filters. I went above what they suggested for flushing. I have no issues.

  • Lbj

    We sure don't need that old dirty EPA in our state

  • anyone

    It took two hours to report?!

  • wvfreedomfighter

    Nobody was hurt first time and nobody will be hurt this time.........the only complainers are unemployed lazy busy bodies who have nothing to do. Get a job you ignorant hicks.

    • Skeptic

      You drink it yahoo.

  • Brian

    Another spill. Not surprising. The company says it uses mchm in its operations but the article doesn't say if mchm leaked into the river or environment. More ignorance of science will make this problem worse.

  • Concerned West Virginian

    It is amazing how many people jump to support and condone the people who are killing us with their chemical and unethical behavior in the name of jobs. If the MCHM or whatever else is being leaked into the lakes and rivers kills all of us who will be left to work the jobs? If the state was not so dependent on coal and Walmart for jobs we would be able to think more clearly and make better decisions about how we move forward with these issues. The issue is about the poison being spilled in our lakes and rivers but those who want to take short cuts. This talk about liberals and commumists is just a smoke screen to divert people's attent from the real issues. It is time for the governor and the state politician to diversify the economy and move away from total reliance on coal and Walmart.

    • WV

      People are starting to think for themselves, now that they have not been drinking fluoridated water for the last month.

    • Plopaganda

      Don't you know that everything would be just peachy if we were to let these companies run amok and do whatever they pleased? Just look how well it worked for Freedom!

  • Aaron


    Please ignore the comments from people like Sam and keep us advised as to how much is this slurry actually made it into the creek.

    • wvrefugee


  • Scott

    I'm a coal miner and I hope everybody gets exactly what they want no more coal mining no jobs and 40 % of the good ole USA without electricity.We spent trillions the last 6 years on green and still don't even have 10% from it great job Prez. The only thing that's been accomplished you'll see in the mail when you get your electric bill.

    • Sam

      See, Chris? If we have to rely on people like Scott to wave the flag, then the communists will win because he doesn't have your talent.

      Any Communist worth his salt could take the gross errors in what Scott states as fact to divert attention from this being correct in a non-factual sense. So what if the government really spent "only" 150 billion dollars rather the trillions Scott claims. That's not the real point, but the liberals would use his factual error to discredit him How unfair is that?

      The entire GNP of the USA has only averaged about 15 trillion a year from 2009-14, so that 150 billion represents almost 2/10ths of 1 percent of our GNP devoted to "green energy." Now that might not sound like much but if you do it in decimal notation you can see how much it really is--.0002!

      To put that in perspective you heathens can understand. Americans only spend about 100 billion dollars a year on beer or about 500 billion from 2009-14. So we are spending nearly 1/3 of what we spend on beer to develop green energy. How can anyone justify that kind of waste?

      • Matthew

        You seems to complain a lot about Scott's math skills, but isn't 2/10ths of 1 percent actually 0.002? I think you need to check your own math before you complain about someone else's.

      • Silas Lynch

        Dude, stop with the GNP nonsense.. GNP is the market value of all the products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the PRIVATE Citizens of the U.S... It is NOT tax revenue raked in by the government to be held in a Reserve somewhere to be wasted on B.S. like "green energy"

        You could only make your argument based on "GNP" vs what the government spent if we were China... Which is probably the economic system you dream of...

      • jo lenin

        we love mother russia!

      • Scott

        The government loan to Solynadra alone was more than your facts.

        • Scott

          Sam,I would say your right kinda to close to it since it's mine and my families lively hood we're talking about and your right I probably got T's and B's mixed up.I will say I'm fed up and ready to move on all my life I wanted to work hard and take care of my family.Now I wish they would just hand me a check.

          • Big easy

            Scott, I understand you frustration. You may be forced move like many in the chemical industry. I'm now on the gulf coast. The future was not the Kanawha Valley. Go where they are mining coal and there is a future with that resource. Wyoming or Illinois? I didn't want to make the move but found out life is better when your job has a future. Louisiana is a great state!

          • Son of Sam

            Scott, pay little mind to Sam. He, much like another on here with the initials HH that I won't mention can never bring a compelling argument to the table.
   they often resort to the fallacies of irrelevance when trying to debate,, sorta like "baffle them with bull"

          • Aaron

            I think it's worth noting sol power that the EIA, which is where you got your 2012 numbers projects a 27% in the use of coal by 2025 and 42% by 2040 over 2012 usage. Coal is going nowhere anytime soon.

            As to renewable energy, the US spends billion with a B every year doling out money for research and development. Despite that simple fact, renewable energy accounts for about 10% of our energy, of which the majority of that is hydro-power.

            It's also worth noting that every source of renewable energy has their own environmental problems which are part of the reason why they have not claimed a larger portion of energy window.

            The simple truth is that the only viable source that can replace fossil fuels in our energy future is nuclear, which likely has more negative connotation than fossil fuels.

            While I believe this spill should be taken seriously and is not a part of the national war on coal, I do not deny that there are many who have a goal of eliminating fossil fuels as an energy source. This will only serve to hurt America.

            Unless our leaders understand that our energy picture needs to be “all of the above” we will not be able to meet future demands.

          • The bookman


            Not to put the technological cart before the horse, but you can't replace the load with R&D into renewables. The only source of energy that could replace coal's load is nuclear, and that should be the source of real R&D into how to minimize radioactive waste, safeguards for the public and environment, and long term safe storage of the waste. It is cleaner and more efficient than any other option that could possibly replace fossil fuel generation. There was a brief conversation regarding nuclear when the current administration took office in his all of the above strategy. However, it has fallen into the the same abyss as coal due to the special interest groups in his coalition who are anti nuclear.

            And although natural gas has been touted as an alternative to coal, and expanding its use for electricity generation as the next step, the same groups who identify themselves as anti coal are clearly anti fossil fuels. They will come for natural gas just as they have come for coal.

            I don't believe that we need to advocate for the status quo, but I do believe we should have a realistic vision for what we can do now, and develop a long term vision of where we want to go. But it has to be realistic. What we are getting from this administration is not realistic or sustainable, as much as it is political posturing.

          • Historian

            Sol: You do not know your history. In fact in medieval times the landed aristocracy in plains and grasslands regions encouraged dung collectors who feared displacement in the name of progress to protest against use of other fuels.

            The Great Manure Rebellion of 1588 wreaked havoc in Moldava.

          • Sol Powers

            In 2012, the United States generated about 4,054 billion kilowatthours of electricity. About 68% of the electricity generated was from fossil fuel (coal, natural gas, and petroleum), with 37% attributed from coal.

            Energy sources and percent share of total electricity generation in 2012 were:

            •Coal 37%
            •Natural Gas 30%
            •Nuclear 19%
            •Hydropower 7%
            •Other Renewable 5%
            •Biomass 1.42%
            •Geothermal 0.41%
            •Solar 0.11%
            •Wind 3.46%
            •Petroleum 1%
            •Other Gases < 1%

            He's probably not going to quibble over that. Someone so inclined though might suggest that our heavy reliance on coal and other fossil fuels is all the more reason to spend money on R&D to develop other less damaging sources of power.

            I don't recall anyone arguing that the fact that at one time all trains were powered by coal was a good reason not to develop other ways of powering them. As I recall it was considered a huge leap forward when coal powered steam engines were relegated to nostalgic tourist attractions.

            Likewise, the fact most were born capable of walking was not used to argue against using wheeled vehicles.

          • Scott

            I did notice he didn't correct my % on the coal and green Bookman,but I'm still waiting.I know he has all the facts!

          • The bookman


            Don't let him beat you down and make you give up what he obviously lacks, common sense. It would be nice to live in a world of purity and perfection, but reality dictates that our modern society comes at a cost. The facts are coal provides 40% of our energy draw, and no amount of investment in green energy could replace that load in the short term, and a viable long term option has yet to be identified. The facts are utilization of coal to generate electricity world wide is projected to increase, not decrease, making the chore of finding a viable alternative all the more daunting. So you continue doing what you do, live in the real world, and keep the lights on for guys like Sam. This is still America, and even folks like Sam are free to live in whatever Fantasy they choose.

          • Sam

            Thank you blessed child. Do not give the infidels ammunition with which to prevent your bosses from doing business however they see fit. Help me and the others on the side of Jesus and unregulated capitalism subjugate those who would impede our liberty.

            If you cannot fully heed my advice to remain silent when math and knowledge are involved, avoid using numbers and assertions of facts.

            Instead of numbers which can be easily refuted, employ descriptive phrases such as "big bunches of," "lots and lots" or my personal favorite "obscene amounts" without putting them into any context.

            Similarly, rather than relying on facts you don't understand just express your opinions in a very forceful and aggressive manner and accuse your adversaries of bad faith or evil intent.

            I have found these tactics often work very effectively.

            Good luck.

        • Sam

          Scott, the Lord has over-blessed you with wisdom, but, perhaps to compensate, he has made you very bad at math. The government loaned Solyandra 536 million dollars.

          That is less than 150 billion dollars -- about 300 times less.

          I beseech you to cease from fighting the communists if you are not in truth a poseur sent by them to discredit the righteous.

          With friends like you free enterprise does not need enemies. Let those of us with numeracy and access to facts wage the war.

          • Son of Sam

            Sam obviously never heard a partisan government lie he didn't like...

            You should really add an APP to this sight that when Sam and another that is remarkably close to Sam post we hear the ballad played in Act II of Smiles of a Summer Night--- or more commonly known--- Send in the Clowns.

      • Jason412


        You're a communist.

      • wvrefugee

        Go watch the X-Files!

    • Aaron

      I support the coal industry. I'm still concerned when something like this happens. This is a legitimate concern regardless of where you stand on the issue of coal mining. The balance between industry and environment does not include contaminating our waterways with this product.

  • Donna

    Thanks for the report Chris.

    Drink beer... The water will kill you.

  • Sam

    Alarmist media at work again! No one in WV will drink any water affected by this and it will dissipate and settle before it reaches Ohio.

    At the worst, some aquatic life will suffer but no one in his right mind eats fish from the Kanawha. A few dead fish and amphibians is a small price to pay for the tens of thousands well-paying jobs providing lifetime economic security that the coal industry brings this state.

    Only a socialist would use this to suggest the industry should be regulated by people who place the environment over profit.

    • Linda Swanson

      Once upon a time my cousin was a Washington lobbyist and head of the old American Mining Congress, a consortium of coal companies. Believe me he worked hard for the coal companies and against the miners, He wanted no regulations on the coal companies. We have had mines collapse and kill the miners. We have drinking water polluted and people's health endangered. Our miners live in the poorest parts of WV. Where are those tens of thousands of good paying jobs. We all got a good glimpse of the typical miners environment when the 27 miners were killed by lack of what? Oh those pesky regulations. When you get in your car and it does not fall apart thank those regulations. When you buy food at the grocery store, thank those regulations. We just had a meat processing company have to recall a million pounds of meat. Why? Oh those darned regulations. Or would you prefer feeding downer cows to your children. Lack of regulations is turning WV into a cesspool that your children will be glad to escape from.

    • Green Eagle

      Only a socialist would "suggest the industry should be regulated by people who place the environment over profit..."

      Only a socialist would suggest that leaving our children a livable world should be more important than a few thousand people getting really rich today.

      • Jason412

        I'm pretty sure Sam was portraying a stereotype and wasn't trying to be taken seriously. That's just my opinion, based on the hard overtone of sarcasm in every post he made.

        • Fentanyl Bomb

          The Poe Slaw is really tasty.

          Sarcasm aside, it really is hard to tell the difference sometimes around here.

          Maybe I need to be recalibrated.

    • Plopaganda

      You're so right. Who needs our beautiful landscape, clean air, clean water, and live, tumor-free animals to hunt and fish when there's MONEY to be made!? Who cares if other creatures suffer so long as non-West Virginians are raking in the bucks using our lands?

      ANY company dealing with toxic chemicals should be regulated and inspected. It's no "anti-job commie socialist agenda," it's common sense.

      Look how many people went without work due to Freedom's spill. Do those people not count since they don't work for the coal industry? Should hospitals, restaurants, nursing homes, day cares, etc. have to go without clean water so that these companies can dump whatever they please into our streams and rivers? Turn off The Blaze for cryin' out loud.

    • Uncle Unctuous

      Sam, I would think those pinko Commies hiding under your bed keep you busy enough that you wouldn't have time to harass Chris Lawrence for doing his job. Of course, there'd be nothing for Mr. Lawrence to do in this instance if Kanawha Eagle's (a slightly more subtle name than Freedom Industries) slurry line had not ruptured. I guess that's "the media's" fault, though.

    • Chris Lawrence

      You're right Sam. I probably should have just ignored it and worked on something else.

      • Sam

        I suspect you are being facetious, but exactly. A talented writer and speaker like you could be doing the Lord's work promoting industry in West Virginia and explaining how the government in its rabid grasp for all power seizes on incidents like this to justify its dominion over its subjects. None of us can be truly be free if the government seeks to restrain any of us from exploiting what is ours to its fullest extent. If those of with more incidentally harm a few with less that is just part of God's plan or he would not have allowed them to have more in the first place. HE intends for those with money and power to have it and to use it for their own benefit. That is HIS way.

        Do no allow yourself to be fooled by the protestations of those God has not favored that HE would want his favored ones to look out for the disfavored, let alone share with them. That kind of thinking posing as "Christian" is really just pure communism.

        ( And, you could probably make a lot more money doing that than writing about nature.)

        • Linda Swanson

          Those people worship Republican Jesus. The one that says starve the children, it will be good for them and teach them the value of hard work. Take the social security from the seniors. They love the taste of cat food. Take the money and aid from the disabled. Let them crawl to their gardens and work work work.

        • Big easy

          And light note.....what about that coaching jobs Huggs did last night? This thread needs to easy up a little.
          Have drink, smile a little.

      • Hop'sHip

        What you don't tell us, can't hurt us.

    • Charleston

      Sam: The Kanawha River has been polluted for years. This is not new information. If you are an outdoor recreationist in the valley (ie. a fisherman, or fisherlady for the politically correct) you would know this.

      • Sam

        Which is why I said no one in his right mind would eat fish caught there.

        The proper way for a right thinking person view to our rivers is as God's sewers. Why would he have made them flow if he didn't want us to dump our waste in them?

        • Linda Swanson

          OMG. That has to be the dumbest remark made by a human being ever. Youi deserve the water

    • Bo Webb

      Sam, you are one sick and brainswashed subject.

  • william

    Don't drink the water!

    • Gigi

      Or if you want a third eye or webbing between your toes, go ahead and drink up!