CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has been receiving reports from Cheat River boaters noticing orange rocks at the mouth of Muddy Creek and wants to assure the public that the situation is under control.
The DEP believes the phenomenon was most likely caused by an occurrence – such as a roof collapse – inside an old mine near Valley Point. A temporary blockage was created and iron-laden water built up inside the mine until the water suddenly started discharging at a high rate of flow into the creek last month. The discharge overwhelmed an acid mine treatment system along the creek for a period of three days before the flows began to recede. It took approximately five to six days for the flows to return to normal.
While the iron levels in the creek were higher than normal, that section of Muddy Creek is currently “dead” – meaning there is no fish or plant life that would have been affected.
Following the release, the DEP had personnel on site investigating the possibility of stream loss that could contribute to such a rapid increase in flow. The investigation revealed no such evidence. This is what led to the conclusion that the unanticipated event occurred inside the mine. DEP engineers and geologists have studied mine maps and are developing a plan that should prevent this type incident from occurring in the future.
For more DEP news and information, go to www.dep.wv.gov. Also, be sure to connect with the agency on all social media platforms. Follow @DEPWV on Twitter and find us on YouTube by searching “Environment Matters.” For specific information about the Adopt-A-Highway, West Virginia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), West Virginia NonPoint Source and Youth Environmental programs, connect on Facebook.