The coal company pleaded guilty to the two misdemeanor violations in U.S. District Court in Columbus in a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. The judge will review the agreement before deciding whether to approve it and the pleas, court officials said.
The Associated Press reported the agreement involved spills of wastewater into Captina Creek in Belmont County in 2008 and 2010. The 2010 spill of coal-wastewater, or slurry, killed more than 4,000 fish and animals.
In addition to pleading to violating a federal water pollution permit, the company also will pay more than $1 million in federal and state fines and restitution under the agreement. As part of the agreement, the company already has installed a $6 million double-walled slurry pipeline.
Ohio Valley’s parent company, Murray Energy Corp., acknowledged in a recent statement it had reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio “to resolve potential charges, stemming from two incidents.” Murray, based in northeast Ohio’s Pepper Pike and in St. Clairsville in southeast Ohio, said Ohio Valley began two years ago to install the “pipe-within-a-pipe system” designed to eliminate the potential for another release.
Murray Energy said its independently operated subsidiary also has installed equipment and controls to monitor the pipeline.