CONSOL Dedicates Water Plant

Dignitaries at ceremony for new facility

Morgantown Dominion Post
12 July 2013
By David Beard

The dedication of CONSOL Energy’s high-tech Northern West Virginia Water Treatment Facility took place under a low-tech white canopy tent raised on a slab of asphalt.

Gathered inside on a gray, muggy Thursday afternoon were Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, CONSOL President Nicholas Deluliis, local legislators and other dignitaries.

The $200 million plant, with a minimum life span of 25 years, represents CONSOL’s “substantial ongoing investment in longwall mining” and the jobs in the communities that depend on CONSOL’s local mines, Deluliis said.

It also supports CONSOL’s transition to a truly diversified energy company, he said. Added to its ventures in coal and natural gas is a new commodity — water.

The plant is a “Zero Liquid Waste” facility, because the water is essentially drinking water quality. The extracted metals, salts and other minerals are encapsulated, isolated and buried in an approved landfill near the plant.

The project employed 400 in construction and provides 30 full-time jobs in daily plant operations.

Deluliis told The Dominion Post that the plant presents two big opportunities: A potential water supply for the fracking industry, to reduce the demand on surface supplies, and for power plants, which also have big water demands.

Deluliis said this plant — and another in Virginia — arose in response to tightened federal restrictions on chloride levels in mine water discharge.

Construction on this plant began in April 2011 and was completed in May of this year — under budget and ahead of schedule. Triad Engineering, of Morgantown, played the major role in engineering it. Through a 10-year agreement, Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies is operating it.

Several in attendance mentioned the 2009 Dunkard Creek fish kill. The company reached a settlement with state and federal agencies and, as part of the settlement, agreed to construct the plant.

Thursday, Deluliis said, “No matter what your views were or weren’t regarding Dunkard Creek, I think you’ve got to be happy and be a proponent of this facility that’s dedicated today.”

Tomblin arrived by helicopter for the dedication.

“We as West Virginians, we all want a good environment for our state,” he said. “But some push too fast, including the federal EPA. They want to make changes overnight, and it’s something that really cannot be done.”

But this plant, he said, shows what can happen if the Environmental Protection Agency, state agencies and industry work together.

“I still think there is a great future for West Virginia coal. … I’m just pleased to see we are doing what we can today to see our environment stays clean and safe, and that we’re able to continue to provide jobs to families.”