Harlan coal company cited for releasing chemical that killed fish

bestep@herald-leader.comJune 3, 2014 

The state has cited a Harlan County coal company over a chemical release into streams that killed fish, according to the state Department for Natural Resources.

The incident near Evarts happened Friday evening. A coal-slurry line from a preparation plant to a sediment pond broke at Harlan Cumberland Coal Co., said Linda Potter, who is with the department.

In an attempt to keep black water from flowing out of the pond into a stream, which would be a violation, employees used a chemical flocculent to get small particles of coal to settle out, Potter said. However, they used too much, which killed fish in Seagraves Creek, Potter said.

The department cited the company for that discharge. The creek flows into the Clover Fork of the Cumberland River, where inspectors also saw some dead fish.

The discharge from the sediment pond had cleared by Saturday and was in compliance with federal rules, Potter said.

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