Feds: Risks remain at some W.Va. coal slurry ponds

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia regulators have made many changes to ensure coal slurry ponds don't fail from the bottom and flood underground mines, but federal officials say risks remain.

The Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement issued a report Thursday directing the Department of Environmental Protection to better document those risks, including better mapping of nearby minable coal seams.

The DEP has agreed to the recommendations. Among other things, it will take precautions with new mining around impoundments that have been capped.

OSM says it's concerned that without stability testing of the capped material, there's still a breakthrough threat.

This is the third report on West Virginia impoundments.

Federal reviews began after a massive dam in Martin County, Ky., failed in 2000.

West Virginia hasn't had a major failure since 1972.

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