Ohio EPA Takes Actions Associated With Ohio Valley Coal Company
Ohio EPA has approved applications from Ohio Valley Coal Company allowing the expansion of a waste coal disposal area from the existing 65 acres to 158 acres in Washington Township, near Alledonia in Belmont County. In addition, the Agency has reached a settlement with Ohio Valley Coal for conducting activities at the facility without the required Ohio EPA approvals for one spill of untreated coal slurry into Perkins Run and subsequently Captina Creek and four discharges of water from an unpermitted outfall. The settlement calls for a $100,000 civil penalty payable to Ohio EPA and the granting, in a nearby area, of a conservation easement of at least 13,269 linear feet of stream bank and of at least 76 acres to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.
Ohio EPA is granting a Section 401 water quality certification allowing Ohio Valley Coal to fill in 5,190 linear feet of Perkins Run and its western tributary with a liner; issuing a permit to install a waste disposal system expansion and a wastewater treatment system to treat 77,200 gallons per day; and renewing the existing discharge permit including a modification to add a treatment pond. In return for being allowed to fill in Perkins Run, Ohio Valley Coal is required to add 7,801 linear feet—or about 45 acres—of Bend Fork Creek to the conservation easement required in the settlement.
While the discharges of fill material associated with the certification are not allowed to exceed state water quality standards for the protection of human health, Ohio EPA believes the discharges will result in a lowering of water quality of Perkins Run and subsequently Captina Creek. Therefore, Ohio EPA was required to solicit and evaluate comments regarding the technical, social, economic and environmental impact of the project and issues related to lower water quality. The Agency held two public meetings and considered all comments in its final decision.
The civil penalty is a consequence of Ohio Valley Coal, prior to receiving the necessary Ohio EPA approvals, installing 870 linear feet of culvert in Perkins Run; installing a liner in the valley floor of Perkins Run; installing a leachate collection system; diverting and relocating the western tributary of Perkins Run; and installing a treatment pond for the leachate and runoff treatment. Also, in violation of its existing discharge permit, Ohio Valley Coal had one release of untreated coal slurry from the company's slurry pond in April 2000 and four unauthorized discharges from pond #10 between July 1999 and May 2000, resulting in discharges to Perkins Run and then to Captina Creek.
The Section 401 water quality certification and related material may be reviewed at Ohio EPA's Division of Surface Water, 122 South Front Street, P. O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049, or made available for review at other locations by first calling (614) 644-2001.
Arrangements to review the new and modified permit can be made by calling Ohio EPA's Southeast District Office, 2195 Front Street, Logan, at (740) 385-8501.
Issuance of the 401 water quality certification and the new and modified
permits can be appealed within 30 days to the Environmental Review Appeals
Commission, 236 East Town Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, (614) 466-8950.
For further questions, please contact Kevin Johnson, public information
officer at (614) 644-2160.