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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  • SamWvu304

    Okay just to "clear the water."I am Sam . Although I am not communist Sam. These things happen,not like the river isn't already polluted .

  • WVian

    I'd have to believe that everyone, regardless of their political ideology would agree that DEP and the other government agencies involved are inept. The procedures and regulations prior to the events to prevent them and the ability to respond to the events to mitigate damage and provide information all make the incompetence beyond rational debate.

    Of course, some want them to be inept at least so far as not taking common sense action which would make such event less likely to occur.

  • WV Guru

    When you read all the comments, one would believe that events of this type are planned by the Big Companies to make WVians victims. It so happens that when you do things, there are occasional unwanted happenings. Conversely, when you do nothing, nothing happens. The latter seems to be what the majority of the contributors to these blogs want. They are proud to be 50th!

  • Lee

    Shaking my head has summed it up very well.

  • WVian

    I love the way "Sam" played it. With just the very slightest hint of subtlety he parodied an extremist. The lack of subtlety was so pronounced that no one who was an extremist too could possibly miss the satirical intent.

    Yet, those fixed on extreme views on both sides totally missed it and either fought him believing him to be a right-wing zealot or backed him, also believing him to be a right wing zealot.

    Only a couple of open-minded people were able to recognize it for what it was and a couple of others advocated a balanced approach to the issues.

    That well illustrates the crux of the problem. The open-minded people who want to work together to find balanced solutions are heavily outnumbered by the extremists on both sides. One could hope this reality was limited to the internet, but in my experience it is actually a pretty accurate portrayal of politics in the USA at this time.

    • WVian

      That should be not an extremist in the first paragraph.

  • 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!