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WV DEP Checking Dams And Old Mining Sites

June 30th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Employees from various divisions across the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection are coordinating with other state agencies, as well as with local and federal officials, on flood response and recovery efforts. A list of some of the DEP-related activities follows: 



• DEP’s Homeland Security and Emergency Response unit is coordinating with local emergency officials across the state on hazardous waste separation instructions for flood debris disposal areas. This waste will be disposed of in permitted hazardous waste landfills. This group, along with members of the Division of Water and Waste Management’s Environmental Enforcement group, is also helping coordinate the collection of tanks and drums containing such materials. To report sightings of these tanks and drums, please call local emergency officials or the state spill hotline: 1-800-642-3074. 

• All spills, or suspected spills, should also be reported to the state spill hotline: 1-800-642-3074. 

• Monthly tonnage limits and assessment fees are being waived for landfills in flood-impacted areas. Also, landfills have permission from DEP’s Division of Water and Waste Management to extend their hours to accept flood debris. 

• Coal mine site dams and impoundments have been inspected by Division of Mining and Reclamation inspectors, as per normal heavy rain event protocols, and no issues have been discovered. Other dams are being inspected by owners and operators at DEP’s request, and DEP dam inspectors are prioritizing inspections of dams of the greatest concern. Again, no issues have been discovered to date. 

• The Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation has been looking into mudslides across the state to determine if any may be AML-related. At this point, however, the sheer amount of rain and flooding have made it impossible to tell if any of the slides have any connection to pre-law (mines operated prior to 1977) mines or are simply the result of the natural disaster. 

• Division of Land Restoration officials are checking sites that are currently being remediated – including the Freedom spill site in Charleston, which was inspected today – to ensure there are no major impacts from the flooding. At this time, no issues of concern have been discovered. 

• Division of Water and Waste Management personnel are assessing impacts to wastewater treatment plants and sewage collection systems. Untreated sewage is likely present in many streams in the affected areas. Cleanup personnel and those who will be recreating after the waters return to normal levels should take appropriate precautions. 

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