Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.
Post Office Box 1070
Frankfort, Kentucky 40602
(502) 875-2428 phone (502) 875-2845 fax
July 5, 2002
Inventory and Data Management Branch by fax only
Division of Water
14 Reilly Road
Re: Proposed Reissuance KY0054810
Martin County Coal Corporation
To Whom It May Concern:
These comments are submitted on behalf of the Kentucky Resources Council, Inc., a non-profit environmental advocacy organization whose membership includes individuals dedicated to prudent use and conservation of the state’s natural resources. The Council has reviewed the proposed individual KPDES permit reissuance for the discharges from the Martin County Coal Corporation coal preparation plant, slurry disposal areas, surface and underground mines and associated areas and bathhouse, and offers these comments:
1. The Statement of Basis could not have been more understated or ironic in noting that Wolf Creek is impaired due to siltation. All of the waters that received discharges of the slurry material from the release of slurry from the Big Branch Impoundment should be classified as impaired due to siltation for the purposes of this permit evaluation, whether formally listed as such or not, and the permit applicant should be required to demonstrate that the proposed discharge, at the point prior to commingling with the receiving waters, is in full compliance with all applicable water quality standards, particularly those involving suspended and settleable solids.
2. The proposed monitoring conditions for flow are woefully inadequate with respect to the discharges from underground adits associated with the slurry disposal area. For any such discharges, flow should be monitored and recorded on a daily basis using a weir or other mechanism capable of detecting any changes in quantity of flow as might indicate another breakthrough. Additionally, field visual inspection and qualitative sampling for settleable solids, and inspection for turbidity should be conducted on a daily basis to determine changes in the clarity of the discharge as might signal another breakthrough or piping within the impoundment.
3. Sampling for areas associated with the coal preparation plant should include either a whole-effluent toxicity sampling or other specific parametric sampling to detect the presence and concentration of any flocculants utilized in the coal washing process, and any other chemical residuals.
4. Finally, reissuance of the permit should be coordinated with EPA Region IV, who is responsible for implementation of the restoration plan for the streams damaged by the slurry release, to assure that the reissuance will not interfere with the physical and biological restoration of the waterbodies and that all appropriate sampling and monitoring conditions have been imposed.
Thank you for your consideration of these comments.