IL Mine Contamination Settlement

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 @ 01:09 PM gHale

A consent order last Monday resolved groundwater quality violations at the Shay No. 1 Coal Mine in Macoupin County, IL.

Under terms of the order, Macoupin Energy LLC, the owner of the mine, must prevent the spread of mining waste contaminants from two disposal areas into groundwater. The company also must submit a corrective action plan to state and federal agencies that will detail how the company will prevent the spread of mining waste and ensure the safe disposal and treatment of future waste.

Fed Citations for Coal Mine Fatality
Miner’s Death Brings Federal Scrutiny
2 Coal Miners Crushed
10 Miners Killed in Q1

“This consent decree will require Macoupin Energy to address the contamination issues that jeopardize the public’s water supply,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. “This agreement will support ongoing cleanup efforts and help prevent future contamination.”

Components of the plan include:
• The design and installation of groundwater collection trenches along the perimeter of the two disposal areas through which contaminated groundwater will end up collected, circulated to the mine’s wastewater treatment system and discharged in compliance with an Illinois EPA permit.
• The installation of wick drains into the disposal areas to promote the removal of contaminated water so workers can treat it before discharging it in compliance with an Illinois EPA permit.
• The use of coal-combustion byproduct in accordance with Illinois law as an additional fill material for the disposal areas. Using coal-combustion byproduct will help reduce the potential for contamination to spread from the disposal areas into groundwater.

Macoupin Energy will also pay a civil penalty of $100,000 and provide funding for two supplemental environmental projects: $100,000 to the Macoupin County Soil and Water Conservation District to help fund its Partners for Conservation Cost-Share Program, which helps landowners reduce soil erosion, sedimentation and nutrient runoff that can impact the county’s water supply; and $97,500 to the village of New Haven to fund needed upgrades to its public water supply infrastructure.

ExxonMobil owned the Shay Mine, which is near Carlinville, until 2009, when Macoupin Energy took over and began to address the groundwater contamination.