SELC, partners file suit over acid mine pollution from abandoned Maxine site

An aerial view of acid mine drainage and polluted runoff from Maxine Mine entering the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River.  (© Nelson Brooke, Flight provided by SouthWings )

SELC and our partners have filed a lawsuit against Drummond Company to stop acidic runoff and mine drainage at an abandoned mine site from streaming into tributaries of the Black Warrior River.

When mining ceased at the Maxine Mine site, located about 30 miles northwest of Birmingham, sediment basins full of contaminated runoff and enormous amounts of mining waste were left behind.  

As a result, mining waste has completely filled what was once a tributary of the Locust Fork, and runoff from the waste and acid mine drainage seeping from the underground mine have been illegally polluting the Locust Fork and other tributaries for years.

Following a notice of intent to sue filed in June, SELC along with partners Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Public Justice have filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

To address the ongoing pollution, the groups are seeking removal of the mining waste, remediation and/or restoration of contaminated streams, and any other necessary measures by Drummond to stop the illegal discharges at the site.

“We cannot allow pollution at the Maxine Mine site to continue at the expense of the health of the Locust Fork, its tributaries, and groundwater,” said SELC Senior Attorney, Barry Brock. “To protect downstream communities, wildlife and the recreational value of this important waterway, Drummond must take immediate and effective measures to stop the contaminated discharges at this site, once and for all.”

“The Maxine Mine site is one of the worst of hundreds of abandoned mines in the Black Warrior basin,” said Riverkeeper Staff Attorney, Eva Dillard. “Long after active mining has ceased, many of these sites continue to degrade water quality with unpermitted discharges containing high levels of sediment, heavy metals such as iron and aluminum, and other pollutants.”

 

Click here to read the lawsuit.

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