By Alanna Autler / WOWK-TV
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection confirmed that a chemical spill from Eastern Associated Coal, a Patriot subsidiary, turned a river off Pond Fork Rd. in Wharton a milky shade of white.
More than 2,000 gallons of a white substance, called DT-50-D, spilled into the river after a spill that occurred some time after 10 p.m. Sept. 4.
The substance is generally used as a suppressant to cover coal and rail cars to cut down on the dust they can spread. Its consistency has the appearance of milky latex.
The chemical is not toxic, but the DEP has advised people not to swim in the water or drink it. [Mod. note: This may be debatable.]
Boone County Emergency Services were contacted to respond to the spill.
Possible cleanup solutions include absorbing the substance with a vacuum truck.
It is currently unclear whether Eastern will face fines from the spill.
The DEP has indicated the water could flow to Madison in Boone County before the chemicals dissipate.
Patriot Coal issued a statement about the situation, saying the company immediately contacted the DEP’s Emergency Response Spill Alert System.
According to Patriot’s statement, the spill occurred at about 11 p.m. during a delivery of dust suppressant by the vendor, Zinkan Enterprises.
“WVDEP personnel have been on site and we are cooperating fully with WVDEP in its investigation,” the statement reads. “At this time there does not appear to be any adverse impact to fish from this spill, which is consistent with the vendor’s representations regarding the product.”
The statement went on to state Patriot would take any remediation steps WVDEP deems necessary, and also will continue to work with Zinkan Enterprises to identify and put in place measures to minimize the effects of the spill.