Coal company agrees to pay for $50 million clean-up of sludge spill

A US coal company has reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up rivers and streams in Kentucky and West Virginia contaminated by 250 million gallons of coal slurry on 11 October last year.

According to EPA officials, the spill from Martin County Coal Corporation facilities (see related story), which affected Wolf Creek, Rockcastle Creek and Big Sandy River, and resulted in a state of emergency being delared, could take up to five years for full restoration of the rivers. Potable and industrial water supply was disrupted in communities long tributaries of the rivers.

The cleanup agreement requires Martin County Coal Corporation to contain the release of coal slurry, remove waste materials that have been discharged, restore the impacted rivers and streams and adjacent areas and offset any temporary or permanent impact to the environment. This includes restoring the stream and riverbeds and replanting the affected adjacent areas.

The company is also required to reimburse costs incurred by the EPA during the response and restoration action.

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