According to David Miller, environmental inspector with the Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Mining and Reclamation, there is a closed coal mine at the head of the hollow. The mine is owned by Rawl Sales and Processing, a subsidiary of Massey Energy. The mine site includes a sediment control structure, or pond, which is currently being reclaimed.
“Personnel were pumping water out of the pond,” Miller said. “It looks like they simply got the hose too close to the bottom and stirred up some sediment, which ended up in the creek.”
Larry Brown of Dick Williamson Branch Road said he noticed a black substance in the small stream that runs directly behind his house Wednesday afternoon, shortly after an endloader went up the hollow past his house.
“When the I first noticed this stuff in the creek, it had a really strong odor,” Brown said. “It was a diesel type of smell.”
Brown told the Daily News the stream often has something discharged into it.
“This is not the first time this has happened.”
His neighbor, Ricky Hick, agreed.
“It happens a lot, sometimes twice a week,” Hick said.
Brown said when noticed the discharge he notified authorities immediately.
“The DEP came quickly,” Brown said. “I called them, and then my lawyer.”
Brown is part of a class action lawsuit against Massey Energy that claims the company’s practices rendered the water supply in the area unusable.