Ice buildup causes big coal slurry spill into W.Va. creek

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia officials say ice buildup on a pipeline caused the spill of 108,000 gallons of coal slurry into a creek.

Tuesday's spill at Patriot Coal's Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant in eastern Kanawha county affected six miles of Fields Creek and flowed a half-mile into the Kanawha River before dissipating.

State environmental mining official Harold Ward said it could take 10 to 14 days to clean the creek. Officials haven't spotted fish kills. A news release from the State Department of Environmental Protection said the company is using vacuum trucks and pumping water from the stream near its plant into settling ponds.

Ward said the company has set up barriers to stop flow into the Kanawha, and officials don't expect the spill to have a major effect on the river.

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