North American Coal test new plant

POWHATAN POINT- North American Coal is working with Crown Water Reclamation about cleaning contaminated water from the mines so that the treated water can then be pumped into Captina Creek and the Ohio River.

Currently, the contaminated water is being cleaned by hydrated lime and pumped back into the abandoned mines. For the water to be pumped into Captina Creek and the Ohio River, it has to meet a certain PH level as stated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“(Having this plant) is environmental … We will be able to discharge back into Captina Creek for one thing, another thing is working with the village we might be able to work with them and sell the water and help the village of Powhatan,” said Steve Hill, property manager for North American Coal. “We treat about 16 million gallons of water a year right now and that is all going into the mine, so we are wanting to get away from that and discharge to the creek so that is what we have been trying to do for the last year or two is treat water.”

The Crown Water Reclamation plant is currently still running tests on the water. This is a trial run for Crown, and North American Coal has yet to make a decision on whether or not it is going to use this company.

“I personally feel that (Crown Water Reclamation) is our best bet right here,”said Hill. “We have tried about 10 other companies – some with plants that they call reverse osmosis plants, the other is with chemical.”

North American Coal currently has the permits to pump into Captina Creek; it just has to be able to meet the requirements. The requirements to discharge into Captina Creek are that the water has to be able to meet the iron, sulfate, total dissolved solids, and the PH balance. According to Hill, there are about eight to 10 different perimeters that need to be met before the water can be discharged.

“This particular plant was here a year ago, they treated our water and it met all of the perimeters to discharge (into the creek). The key thing to this particular plant versus reverse osmosis; with reverse osmosis, we still have to operate our existing plant, plus the reverse osmosis plant, which has a waste product that comes off of that … the waste product will be discharged onto the ground and we have to take it to a site.”

State Sen. Lou Gentile and State Rep. Jack Cera will be at plant site Monday to see the progress that has been made so far.

Van Dyne can be reached at