Agency: Coal dust may be blackening West Virginia stream

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HELEN, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says coal dust from an abandoned mine might be what's blackening a stream that runs through Helen.

The Register-Herald reports the agency says the discolored water staining the Berry Branch stream is coming from a discharge pipe from a Raleigh County mine that has no responsible party. While the discharge pipe has been found, agency workers on Monday were still looking for the underground cause of the discoloration.

The agency says biologists are testing the water to determine the discoloration's possible impact on wildlife. The agency says all nearby active mines are in compliance and not the cause of the dark water first reported Saturday. It says geologic changes can cause underground pools of stagnant water to be flushed out of abandoned mines.