Longview Power Asks Judge to OK Pa Settlement
Washington PA Observer Reporter
13 October 2014
Staff and wire reports
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Longview Power is seeking a bankruptcy judge’s
approval of a settlement with Pennsylvania regulators that would
allow a subsidiary to continue to discharge treated mine water
into Dunkard Creek.
Longview operates a 700-megawatt coal-fired plant in Maidsville,
W.Va. Subsidiary Dana Mining and another company, AMD Reclamation
Inc., operate the Steele Shaft Treatment Facility in Pennsylvania.
The facility pumps water from closed and abandoned mines that are
not owned by the companies so Dana Mining can safely mine coal
reserves. The mine water is treated and discharged into Dunkard
In a filing last week, Longview said it would have to invest in
additional treatment facilities to meet requirements implemented
by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection since
the facility received a discharge permit in 2003. The permit was
up for renewal in 2008 and was extended pending the issuance of a
The settlement arose from negotiations between Longview and the
Pennsylvania agency to determine an alternative means of
compliance with the state’s new requirements, according to the
company’s filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.
Under the settlement, the existing treatment facility’s capacity
and reach would be expanded, which Longview said would reduce or
eliminate discharges into Dunkard Creek. The companies also would
monitor aquatic life in Dunkard Creek.
Spokesmen for Dana Mining and Longview could not be reached for
comment. A DEP spokesman also could not be reached Monday, which
was a holiday.
AMD built the Steele Shaft treatment plant in 2003 with funding
from Pennsylvania to treat polluted water from the abandoned
Shannopin Mine. Acidic water in the mine had reached a level at
which it could breach the surface and pollute Dunkard Creek.
Dana also needed to lower the level of water in the Shannopin mine
to continue mining the Sewickley seam coal which it mines above
the Pittsburgh seam mined by Shannopin. Rising water in Shannopin
began to flood the Sewickley seam jeopardizing Dana’s mining
Dana later began treating water at Steele Shaft from the closed
Humphrey Mine as its mining operations moved into the Humphrey
Mine area, an action opposed by several environmental groups that
argued no threat of a mine water breakout existed at Humphrey and
the de-watering was only being done to enable Dana to mine.
Steele Shaft treats the mine water for acidity and heavy metals,
but it does not treat the water for its high levels of total
dissolved solids, which contributed to the fish kill in 2009 in
Dunkard Creek, though up steam from the Steele Shaft.
The company and DEP had proposed an earlier plan for the Steele
Shaft that involved building a 9-mile pipeline from Steele Shaft
to the Monongahela River. With the pipeline, water discharged from
the plant would bypass the portion of the creek from the plant
downstream to the river where it would easily be diluted.
The plan also called for developing a system to collect water from
other acid mine discharges along Dunkard Creek downstream from the
Steele Shaft that also now pollute the creek.
Dana Mining and AMD Reclamation also would establish a trust fund
with an initial $300,000 payment, followed by annual $300,000
payments for up to 19 years.
The Dominion Post reported the company’s filing.
Longview filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware in
In September, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brenda L. Shannon granted
Longview’s request to settle a lawsuit alleging pollution
violations at subsidiaries Coresco and Mepco. The Sierra Club and
the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy filed the lawsuit in U.S.
District Court in Clarksburg in 2012.