Feds: DEP does not properly oversee mining flood prevention

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Feds: DEP does not properly oversee mining flood prevention Empty Feds: DEP does not properly oversee mining flood prevention

Post by ziggy on Fri Jul 03, 2009 11:06 am

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia regulators and coal operators have not properly implemented state rules meant to keep strip mining from contributing to flooding during heavy rains over narrow mountain hollows, according to a new federal report.

Mine operators have inconsistently applied computer modeling in permit applications, and state regulators have approved those applications anyway, according to the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement report.

In addition, the state Department of Environmental Protection does not do follow-up studies to see if permit models were accurate, and DEP regulations require no long-term pre- and post-mining runoff monitoring, OSM said in its report.

Officials from the OSM's Charleston field office conducted their oversight study to weigh the effectiveness of the DEP's program to require Surface Water Run-off Analysis, or SWROA, for every new strip-mining permit application. The DEP came up with the plan after severe flooding in 2001 that was widely blamed, at least in part, on strip mining, and led to ongoing litigation against mine operators and land-owning companies.

In the study, the OSM pointed out several problems it discovered when reviewing a small sampling of DEP-approved permits with SWROAs in them:

| In one instance, the permit designer assumed a runoff catch basin was dry before a storm hit. The OSM said, "a more conservative, or safer, approach" would have been to assume the structure was full before the rain.

Another time, a company permit designer assumed changes in topography that shortened the travel time for runoff, inflating the pre-mining peak flows -- and making any increase because of mining seem smaller.

Overall, worst-case mining scenarios did not consider the "critical situation" when valley-fill sites are totally denuded and dumping begins. "If the site is not stage cleared and adequate ditches and detention structures in place to compensate for the drastic changes in ground cover, then peak runoff leaving the site will increase," the OSM study said.

http://www.wvgazette.com/News/200907020763
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Feds: DEP does not properly oversee mining flood prevention Empty Re: Feds: DEP does not properly oversee mining flood prevention

Post by Aaron on Fri Jul 03, 2009 11:49 am

I've been saying for years that the major fault in mining lies with the government oversight agencies. As far as I'm concerned, what they are doing is criminal and they should be punished accordingly.

The MSHA inspector who was at Aracoma the day before two miners died should have received the same prison sentence as the safety inspector but when I said that last year, you excused his actions, just as you do all government employees and laid the entire blame on Massey.

Just as you will here for the failures of the DEP.

Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes
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Post by SamCogar on Sat Jul 04, 2009 4:09 am

In one instance, the permit designer assumed a runoff catch basin was dry before a storm hit. The OSM said, "a more conservative, or safer, approach" would have been to assume the structure was full before the rain.

And just what purpose would a "runoff catch basin" serve if it was always full of water?

Stock it with Bluegill and Catfish and let kids fish in it maybe.

Maybe a likewise idea would be to not construct a "runoff catch basin" and just assume it is never going to rain.

lol!

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Post by ziggy on Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:03 pm

And just what purpose would a "runoff catch basin" serve if it was always full of water?

It would not necessarily always be full of water.

Be it could already be full of water today because of last night's 2 inch rainfall thunderstorm.
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Post by SamCogar on Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:45 am

ziggy wrote:
And just what purpose would a "runoff catch basin" serve if it was always full of water?

It would not necessarily always be full of water.

Be it could already be full of water today because of last night's 2 inch rainfall thunderstorm.

Then it must be serving the purpose it was designed and built to serve.

That OSM rep sounds to be a "fictious fault critizing" someone like you.

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