Enjoy, Explore, and Protect the Planet Sierra Club Allegheny Group, Pennsylvania Chapter

Rivers and Water

Dunkard Creek Eco-Disaster

Dunkard Creek starts in West Virginia, and moves back and forth into Greene County before flowing into the Monongahela downriver from Point Marion. The creek is a popular fishing spot, and at high water time is a treat for kayakers. (See meandering ‘red’ creek in map below.)

dunkard creek map

Sometime in early September a huge amount of highly acidic waste water was discharged into the Dunkard Creek, causing a major eco-disaster that reportedly killed 161 aquatic species. In an extensive newspaper article Don Hopey describes this ecological calamity. Not only is life in the creek wiped out, but the sources of drinking water downstream are put at risk.

As Hopey indicates, the location and nature of the  contamination is not known,  but there are a number of possibilities; discharge from the Consol mine near the creek, or dumping of fracturing water from Marcellus gas drilling activity. A third possible source of the contamination is  an underground pool of waste water associated with drilling and/or mining, a toxic pool that could have erupted to the surface.

ACTION: Concerned citizens are urged to contact Mr. Larry Merrill in the EPA Region 3 office in Philadelphia (merrill dot larry at epa.gov or 215-814-5452) and demand that all mining and drilling operations in the Dunkard Creek watershed be suspended until the source of this ecological disaster is clearly identified and remedial action is taken.

NOTE: If this were a leak from a nuclear power plant, the plant would be shut down immediately in order to identify the source of the leak and fix the problem.

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