Investigation[ edit ] Aerial View of Buffalo Creek area taken the day after impoundment dam 3 failed. Two commissions investigated the disaster. One of the investigators was Jack Spadaroa man who devoted his time to regulating dam construction for safety. Moore regarding their request that a coal miner be added to the governor's commission, a separate citizen's commission was assembled to provide an independent review of the disaster.
Following the Buffalo Creek flood three separate investigative commissions were established. The investigations revealed that Pittson Coal Company—owners of the Buffalo Creek mine— improperly constructed the impoundment dam, known as Dam No.
While Pittson Coal avoided criminal charges, Buffalo creek disaster civil lawsuits filed by the flood survivors were successful. The Buffalo Creek flood led to the development of more rigorous State and Federal mine safety regulations.
Standard practice for coal mine operations was to dispose of mine refuse, excess water and other debris wherever was most convenient. Thus, Lorado Coal constructed a single dam, Dam No. A year later Buffalo Mining constructed a second dam, Dam No. Investigations and complaints in the late s revealed that Dam 1 and Dam 2 were both constructed without permits.
However, West Virginia authorities did not shut down the mining operation. Pittson Coal set to work building a larger dam, Dam No. Upon completion, Dam No. The Flood Around 8 a. The torrent of sludgy water destroyed Dams No.
The floodwater funneled downhill through the narrow Buffalo Creek Valley causing massive destruction to 15 additional towns before eventually emptying into the Guyandotte River three hours and seventeen miles later.
Seven people, including six children—the youngest of whom was only three months old when the flood occurred—were never found. The commissions arrived at similar conclusions: The commissions determined that Pittson Coal utilized improper dam engineering and construction techniques, and failed to adequately inspect or maintain the three dams along Buffalo Creek.
The commissions also determined that mining safety regulations and enforcement at the state level were lacking, likely contributing to the disastrous flood. A West Virginia grand jury failed to criminally indict Pittson Coal. A third civil suit, State of West Virginia v. However, three days before leaving office, Gov.
The Buffalo Creek disaster encouraged the state of West Virginia to bolster oversight and mine safety regulations, culminating in passage of the Dam Control Act.
Following the Buffalo Creek flood, nationwide inspections of similar waste impoundment dams were conducted. Federal mining regulations and inspections were strengthened, as were the penalties for safety violations.
Everything in its Path: Destruction of Community in the Buffalo Creek Flood. The Buffalo Creek Flood and Disaster:The Buffalo Creek Disaster: How the survivors of one of the worst disasters in coal-mining history brought s uit against the coal company--and won.
More than thirty years ago, one of the deadliest floods in U.S. history occurred in southern West Virginia's Buffalo Creek hollow.
Negligent strip mining and heavy rain produced a raging flood. The Buffalo Creek Flood was a disaster that occurred on February 26, , when the Pittston Coal Company's coal slurry impoundment dam #3, located on a hillside in Logan County, West Virginia, USA, burst four days after having been declared 'satisfactory' by a federal mine inspector.
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The Buffalo Creek Disaster, February 26, One of worst floods in US occurred here 26 February , when Buffalo Mining Co. impoundment dam for mine waste broke, releasing over million gallons of black waste water: killed ; property losses over $50 million; and thousands left homeless.
The Buffalo Creek flood led to the development of more rigorous State and Federal mine safety regulations. Origins of Disaster Coal mining was a staple in Logan County, West Virginia.