HUGHES CREEK, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is conducting twice daily readings of underground mine water levels in the Hughes Creek area of eastern Kanawha County. This effort is part of the agency’s continued monitoring of a situation that resulted in a brief voluntary evacuation of homes in that area in March. If the water level again rises to a level of concern, there is a contingency plan in place to avoid the need for another evacuation.
Substantial rainfall over the last month has contributed to fluctuations in the underground water levels, resulting in water occasionally seeping out of the Hugheston Mining Complex and into the yards of nearby residents. On March 13, the flow became so rapid that it spurred emergency officials to advise a voluntary evacuation of the area.
The DEP has been conducting dye testing to try to identify the source of the water. Once it is determined whether the water is coming from an old mine known locally as the Crucible Mine, is related to pumping and injection activities done in conjunction with an active operation in the same complex, or is from a variety of sources, the agency will evaluate how best to remedy the problem.
Recently, the DEP had ditches dug to divert the water away from homes and, following the evacuation, an existing 100-foot-deep bore hole in the old mine was re-drilled for use as a monitoring well to track changes in the mine pool’s water level. The bore hole was drilled large enough to allow water to be pumped out through it if the water level rises to a critical level.
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