"Critic Questions Way Coal Firms Build Slurry Ponds"

"MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Slurry pond failures like the one that swallowed a bulldozer and its driver last week at a West Virginia coal mine could be avoided if the waste pits were built to strict construction standards that regulators ignore, said a mine safety expert and frequent critic of the coal industry."

"For at least a decade, state and federal regulators have allowed coal companies to build or expand massive slurry ponds atop loose and wet coal waste, said Jack Spadaro, an engineering consultant and former director of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy.

'They're building on top of the existing slurry, and therein lies the problem,' Spadaro said. 'It's wet and it has no stability. It's creating hazards for all of us downstream.'"

Vicki Smith reports for the Associated Press December 7, 2012.

Source: AP, 12/07/2012