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West Virginia DEP investigating black water discharge in Helen

By JORDAN NELSON

The Register-Herald

Black water washes from Berry Branch into Winding Gulf in the community of Helen on Monday. West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection was in Helen Monday investigating the source of the black water, which is believed to be originating from an abandoned mine.
(Register-Herald photo by Jenny Harnish)

HELEN, W.Va.  — Berry Branch, a small stream that runs through Helen into the Winding Gulf, is flowing black.

According to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the discolored water is coming from a discharge pipe from an abandoned Raleigh County mine. The DEP said nearby active mines are all in compliance and not the cause for the discoloration.

In a news release, the DEP said the initial investigation indicates the black water is due to coal dust being carried through the pre-law mine, meaning the mine ceased operation prior to 1977 and has no responsible party.

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