CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia creek turned black with 108,000 gallons of coal slurry because of ice buildup on a pipeline.
State officials said Wednesday the ice tore a gasket around a slurry line valve, causing the malfunction.
The spill Tuesday at Patriot Coal's Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant near Winifrede affected six miles of Fields Creek and flowed one-half mile into the Kanawha River before dissipating.
State environmental mining official Harold Ward said it could take 21 to 28 days to clean the creek. Officials haven't spotted fish kills.
The company has set up barriers to stop flow into the Kanawha. It is using vacuum trucks and pumping water from the stream near its plant into settling ponds.
The state doesn't expect the spill to have a major impact on the Kanawha.