EPA Data Shows Streams Near Mountaintop Removal Coal Mines Toxic

mountaintop removal mine photo

photo: Jake McClendon via flickr.

In what really seems like stating the obvious, or at least stating what has been said many times before, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that water quality downstream from mountaintop coal mining operations in West Virginia and Kentucky is highly toxic. The Charleston Gazette reports that EPA data from 14 of 17 sampled sites were up to 50 times more toxic that guidelines permit.Interestingly, the samples were taken between 2007-2009 but not made public. It took a Freedom of Information Act request by a toxicologist from the University of Maryland to reveal the findings.

In terms of "toxicity units", where the EPA recommends no more than 1.0 for long-term exposure, six of nine sites in West Virginia exceeded that level, ranging from 3.1 to 6.9 toxicity units. in Kentucky all eight sample sites exceeded 1.0, with two sites registering greater than 50 toxicity units.

Read more: Charleston Gazette
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