To: Duane Davis, 401 Coordinator
From: Marc Smith, DWS, MAS-EAU
Subject: Comments on the Perkins Run Coarse Coal Waste Disposal Facility 401 Application Materials.
As you probably have suspected we have no biological sampling data from the small streams that would be affected by the alternatives proposed for this project. The only sampling data that we have available are the QHEI forms that were completed by Jennifer Kleski of Bair, Goodie and Associates. My understanding is that she is a hydrogeologist by training. I'm not sure if she has taken one of Ed Rankin's QHEI training courses. I wouid appreciate it if you would check that out with your folks over there.
The reason that I'm raising the issue is that there were obvious problems with how the sheets were filled out. An example would be not checking boulders as a cover type when in the comments secti ion of that metric was the statement that majority of cover boulders/cobbles. Another example would be shallows in slow water was checked but slow current velocity was not checked. The were several more comparable discrepancies scattered through the sheets. All of these discrepancies have the effect of underscoring the quality and therefore the potential of the streams to support aquatic life. I would strongly suggest a site visit to ground truth the habitat quality of these streams, especially in view of the proposal to totally eliminate them as streams.
Along the same lines since what is being proposed is a virtual elimination of a stream I do not see how we could approve the filling of this system without knowing what the existing quality and the existing use are. I would therefore recommend that either they hire a consultant to conduct that sampling this coming field season or you contact SEDO and determine whether or not they can conduct this sampling. Once we have a better understanding of the quality of this resource we can make an informed and better decision on how to proceed. Along the same lines statements are made in the report that are obviously inserted to minimize the quality of the stream.
One example is the "Note turbidity of the water. It has a milky apppearance. However this milky appearance is also evident in photo 2&3 at the discharge of the Number 2 Dam, a slurry impoundment. The Ohio Valley Coal Company's activities appear to be responsible for this turbidity. Similarly comments are made about siltation and embeddedness particularly relating this to the stream flowing through spoil fill. Again these are as a result of activities by the applicant. Pre-application impact caused by an applicant should not be used to justify futher impact.
Another issue that needs to be resolved by folks higher up in
the hierarchy is: when is it permissible to eliminate a water of the state?
That appears to be what we are being asked to do. We need to know what
we are legally permitted to do. I would suggest getting Ric Queen involved
in the review of this project since it raises some issues outside the ordinary.