The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency plans an Aug. 14 public meeting in Beallsville, Ohio, over a new waste disposal permit being sought by coal operator Robert Murray’s American Energy Corp.
Ohio EPA is reviewing an application from American Energy to discharge treated runoff and drainage from a new coarse refuse disposal area at the company’s Century longwall mine. Runoff from the new disposal area and an existing disposal site would receive chemical treatment and be sent to two existing settling ponds. If approved, the permit would allow the company to discharge treated runoff and drainage from the ponds.
Unlike coal slurry stored in impoundments, coarse refuse is dewatered at the coal preparation plant and landfilled, the agency noted. Permits to construct and operate coarse refuse disposal sites in Ohio are reviewed and approved by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Any approved discharge may result in a change from the current water quality conditions of two small tributaries to Piney Creek, Piney Creek and the Captina Creek watershed, but cannot violate Ohio’s water quality standards. Ohio EPA said it will consider the technical, economic, social and environmental aspects of the project before deciding to issue or deny the permit.
The Century mine is a major producer of high-sulfur coal out of the Pittsburgh seam, most of which goes into the scrubbed power plant market. U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows that Century produced 4.5 million tons in the first half of this year, well ahead of a pace that saw 7.1 million tons of output in all of 2011.