Industries Energy/Green

Commonwealth to award $340,000 to projects curbing pollution from old mines

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The commonwealth plans to award projects that reduce pollution from acid mine drainage in Southwest Virginia.

The grant is in addition to $1.69 million in acid mine drainage remediation funds that Gov. Bob McDonnell announced in May 2012. 

The grants would affect problems in the Powell River watershed from coal mining conducted before passage of the federal Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act in 1977.

The Virginia Water Quality Improvement Act funds will be awarded upon completion of a 30-day public comment period, scheduled to end May 22.

“This grant shows Virginia’s continued commitment to reducing the leading source of water quality problems – nonpoint source or runoff pollution —including from historic coal mining activities,” McDonnell said in a statement.

Specific sites to be addressed with these funds are Wagonertown 2 south of the town of St. Charles and the Penhook site draining to an unnamed tributary of Straight Creek.  With matching funds, the cost of these projects is more than $730,000.

The projects are part of an ongoing effort to remediate damage from acid mine drainage from abandoned coal mining.

State officials said the proposed projects will help remedy acid mine drainage along Straight Creek, part of the Powell River and home to many endangered or threatened aquatic species.

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