The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said Nov. 9 that it has issued a draft permit to the American Energy Corp. for discharging treated runoff and drainage from the company’s Century longwall mine into Piney Creek.
Ohio EPA held a public hearing on Aug. 14 to explain the project and accept public comments. In addition to oral comments provided at the meeting, Ohio EPA said it equally considered written comments before issuing the draft permit. The public can submit comments through Nov. 30 regarding the draft permit.
“Runoff from a new coarse refuse disposal area at an existing disposal site would receive chemical treatment and be sent to two existing settling ponds,” the agency said. “The draft permit would allow the company to discharge treated runoff and drainage from the ponds. Unlike fine coal refuse and water (coal slurry) stored in impoundments, coarse refuse is dewatered at the coal preparation plant and landfilled. 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 Piney Creek, two small tributaries and the Captina Creek watershed, but cannot violate Ohio’s water quality standards, the agency noted.
American Energy is a unit of coal operator Robert Murray’s Murray Energy, and Century is a longwall mine working the high-sulfur Pittsburgh No. 8 coal seam. U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows that Century produced 6.6 million tons in the first nine months of this year, ahead of a pace that saw 7.1 million tons of output in all of 2011.