PINEVILLE – A Wyoming County family is suing a mining company over claims that the family's water supply has been contaminated as a result of coal mining near the home.
Ernest Toler and Tonja Toler Kinzel brought a lawsuit against Dynamic Energy Inc. and its parent company, Mechel Bluestone Inc., on Sept. 11 in Wyoming Circuit Court, citing property damage, private and public nuisance, trespass, personal injury, negligence and violations of the West Virginia Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Act.
The lawsuit states that tests taken since 2013 show the plaintiffs' well water has been contaminated with high levels of heavy metals, arsenic, hydrogen sulfide and lead and is no longer safe for human consumption. Before the defendant began surface mining for coal on Coal Mountain, there were no issues with the water supply. The complaint states the contaminated water has caused indigestion, diarrhea, rashes, itching, and skin irritation after contact. The plaintiffs notified Dynamic Energy, the West Virginia Department of Environment Protection and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement that the well had been contaminated and requested emergency water delivered within 24 hours, but that request was not fulfilled, the complaint states.
The plaintiffs assert that in addition to physical illness, the contaminated water has diminished the value of their real estate. They are seeking compensatory damages, liquidated damages, a replacement water supply, medical monitoring and attorney's fees.
Attorney Kevin W. Thompson and David R. Barney Jr. of Thompson Barney in Charleston is representing the plaintiffs. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Warren R. McGraw.
Wyoming Circuit Court case number 15-C-172