MANNINGTON, W.Va. — When Lora Michael was sworn in as Mannington’s first woman mayor on July 6, 2021, she wanted to start her job by taking care of some long overdue housekeeping.
“For the past five years,[Mannington] councils had been working toward getting the Dent’s Run dam fixed,” Michael said.
“Our dam was undermined by Consolidated Coal, then it changed hands to Murray Energy, then it changed hands to American National Resources. Past councils have worked on getting it fixed, but they didn’t get any satisfaction,” she said.
In what has become too common a problem in counties across West Virginia, residents are seeing large swaths of land seemingly sink two or three or more feet. There are frequent reports of cracked walls, siding separating from foundations and other signs of sinking earth.
When vulnerable areas are mined, the effects are often evident above ground. In the case of Dent’s Run dam, it’s not known what caused the spillway to drop six or eight feet, but one look at a mining map may show longwall mines…