DEP: Coal Slurry Impoundments Will Require New Safety Measures
The State Journal
10 January 2013
By Pam Kasey
In new state policy, operators of some coal slurry impoundments
will be required to provide additional verification of the safety
of their impoundments.
The policy was announced Jan. 10 with the release of a federal
Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement study. It
dealt with state Department of Environmental Protection procedures
regarding the potential for breakthrough of slurry impoundments
into underground mines.
Where impoundments are near mineable seams, the state Department
of Environmental Protection will no longer rely on mine maps alone
but may require operators to verify, through drilling or remote
sensing, that those seams have not been mined.
And where impoundments previously identified as too close to
underground mine workings have been capped and then topped by
smaller slurry cells, DEP will require operators to verify that
the underlying slurry is no longer "flowable."
The OSM's Phase III study reviewed 15 mines across the state.
The state will begin instituting these measures beginning with
midterm review or with renewal of permits, whichever comes first,
and will have cycled through all 132 slurry impoundments in three
years, according to DEP Department of Mining and Reclamation
Senior Engineer Jim Pierce.