Not the Kind of White Water that Attracts Tourists


The clear-looking (but mining-impacted) West Fork joins the visible gunk in the Pond Fork, all heading downstream to rise of the Litte Coal River in Madison. Photo by Vivian Stockman

OVEC organizer and Boone County, W.Va. resident Maria Gunnoe was taking a child to the school bus this morning when they both saw Pond Fork running white. The children waiting for the bus where very agitated, worried what this meant for the river. Maria worried what does this mean for thechildren… what does this latest incident mean for everyone who lives downstream, everyone subjected to ongoing, accumulating coal-related pollution ….

Maria called DEP and the media. WOWK reported:

2,400 gallons of DT-50-D leaked into a river off Pond Fork Road from the Eastern Associated Coal prep plant, a Patriot subsidiary in Wharton.

The substance is generally used as a suppressant to cover coal and rail cars to cut down on the dust they can spread. Its consistency has the appearance of milky latex.

The material is not toxic, but the DEP has advised people not to swim in the water or drink it.

Non-toxic, but stay out, unless of course you are a fish.

The gunk flows passed the elementary school in Van. Photo by VS

The gunk flows passed the elementary school in Van. Photo by VS

By the time I got to Maria’s neighborhood, the blue-tinged white water had reached the little town of Van. As I stood in Van Community Park, a great blue heron flew along the stream. I wonder, can the heron skip a fish or frog meal today and just eat tofu?

The coal industry’s assault on our streams continues daily, as the DEP fails to protect us from the industry’s excesses.

To learn about what 18 different grassroots groups are doing to expose DEP’s failures to protect West Virginia citizens from this kind of assault on our water and air, check in with the CARE campaign.

We’re collecting news of today’s stream pollution here; click the “SSP” icon.  20130905_untitled_0005-3





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