The EPA, DOJ, and the state of West Virginia have announced that Consol Energy Inc., the largest producer of coal from underground mines in the United States, has agreed to pay $5.5 million in civil penalties for Clean Water Act violations at six locations.
Consol will also spend an additional $200 million in pollution controls to reduce discharges of mining wastewater into Appalachian streams and rivers.
“Complying with the Clean Water Act is a critical responsibility of those who operate mining operations near our nation’s treasured rivers, lakes and streams,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The state-of the-art technology required by today’s settlement is an important step forward in protecting local waterways and the health of communities in Appalachia.”
Consol has agreed to build and operate an advanced water treatment plant utilizing reverse osmosis technology to remove high levels of chloride from mining wastewater.
The Consol Energy treatment plant will eliminate more than 96 million pounds of dissolved solids, including 11 million pounds of chloride. The plant will help prevent health problems associated with tainted drinking water and protect aquatic life in the area.