Coal slurry impoundment

A coal slurry impoundment consists of solid and liquid waste and is a by-product of the coal mining and preparation processes. It is a fine coal refuse and water.

Mining generates enormous amounts of solid waste in the form of rocks and dirt. This refuse is used to dam the opening of a between adjacent mountains.

After the dam is built, the void behind it is typically filled with millions of gallons of waste slurry from a coal preparation plant. This impounded liquid waste can sometimes total billions of gallons in a single facility.

High-profile disasters associated with these slurry impoundments have called into question their safety. In 1972, a slurry impoundment outside of Logan County, West Virginia burst, resulting in a rush of 130 million gallons of toxic water (the Buffalo Creek Flood). Out of a population of 5,000 people, 125 people were killed, 1,121 were injured, and over 4,000 were left homeless. The flood caused 50 million dollars in damages. Despite evidence of negligence, the Pittston Company, which owned the compromised dam, called the event an "Act of God." [cite web | title=Environmental Justice Case Study: Buffalo Creek Disaster | url= | accessdate=October 10 | accessyear=2006 ] In 2002, a convert|900|ft|m|sing=on high, convert|2000|ft|m|sing=on long fill in Lyburn, West Virginia burst, generating a large wave of sediment that destroyed several cars and houses. [cite web | title=Massey Valley Fill Disaster, Lyburn, WV | url= | date=2002-07-19 | accessdate=April 3 | accessyear=2005 ]

ee also

*Martin County sludge spill


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