PINEVILLE – A Wyoming County couple is suing over claims their family's water supply and those of neighbors have been contaminated by nearby mining activity.
Homer and Alice Toler, individually and as next friends or parents of minor N.B.T., filed a lawsuit Oct. 28 in Wyoming Circuit Court against Dynamic Energy Inc., and Mechel Bluestone Inc., citing property damage.
According to the complaint, the Tolers live along Cedar Creek and depend on their water well for all domestic water needs, such as drinking, bathing, cooking, cleaning and laundry. The complaint states Dynamic Energy, owned by Mechel Bluestone, conducts surface mine operations atop nearby Coal Mountain, and shortly after operations commenced, the Tolers and other residents noticed a degradation in water quality, including a discoloration and rotten egg smell.
The Tolers say water tests in 2013 determined the water was not safe for human consumption due to high concentrations of heavy metals and hydrogen sulfide.
The plaintiffs report indigestion, diarrhea, rashes, itching and skin irritation after contact with the water, in addition to the erosion of their property value. According to the lawsuit, the Tolers reported the test results to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and defendants and requested they provide emergency water within 24 hours but the defendants have not provided temporary emergency water to the plaintiffs.
The defendants are accused of property damage, private nuisance, public nuisance, trespass, personal injury, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence and gross negligence and violations of the West Virginia Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Act.
The Tolers seek compensatory and punitive damages, a replacement water supply, interest and equitable relief of medical monitoring for any health effects of the exposure.
They are represented by attorneys Kevin W. Thompson and David R. Barney Jr. of Thompson Barney in Charleston. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Warren R. McGraw.
Wyoming Circuit Court case number: 14-C-174