CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Out of an abundance of caution, emergency officials have called for a voluntary evacuation of the Hughes Creek community in eastern Kanawha County because of the possibility of a blowout from an old mine situated above U.S. Route 60. While only a few of the approximately 150 homes are in the immediate vicinity of the mine, there is a chance that roads could be covered in water, mud and debris, which would cut off access to emergency services.
A shelter is being set up at Riverside High School and plans are being made to secure hotel accommodations for the affected residents.
An engineer has been brought in to evaluate the mine, which has been discharging water since last weekend. The water has been pooling in and muddying the yards of five nearby residences. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has been monitoring the mine discharge and overseeing construction of a ditch to divert water away from the homes. Today’s heavy rain, however, overwhelmed the ditch. Additionally, the amount of water discharging from the mine has increased.
Plans are being made to mobilize a drill to the site to be used to help determine the extent of the mine pool (water in the mine).
Dye testing on a nearby stream is under way to help identify the source or sources of the water entering the mine and being discharged.