CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Eastern Kanawha County families who voluntarily evacuated their homes last night when water discharging from a Hughes Creek-area mine significantly increased have started returning to their homes now that conditions have stabilized.
The flow from the old coal mine, which is known as a pre-law mine because it was mined prior to passage of the 1977 Surface Mining Reclamation and Control Act, has returned to approximately the same rate as before yesterday’s heavy rain. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection advised Kanawha County emergency officials early this afternoon that there is nothing to indicate an imminent threat.
Fifty-four people had sheltered at Riverside High School last night due to concerns that the mine could fail, and about half were taken to an area hotel early this morning.
Equipment has been brought in to drill a monitoring well to help determine the water level in the mine, which is in the old Hugheston Mining Complex. The hole will be drilled in an existing, vertical electrical bore hole that is no longer in use. DEP officials hope drilling of the approximately 100-foot hole will be complete by early evening.
The DEP has been monitoring the mine discharge since it started last Sunday, will remain on site throughout the drilling operation and will continue to investigate the cause of the discharge. Dye testing is being conducted to help identify the source or sources of the water.