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Official: Ice buildup tore gasket, caused 108,000-gallon slurry spill into West Virginia creek

West Virginia officials say ice buildup on a pipeline caused the spill of 108,000 gallons of coal slurry into a creek.

Tuesday's spill at Patriot Coal's Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant in eastern Kanawha county affected six miles of Fields Creek and flowed one-half mile into the Kanawha River before dissipating.

State environmental mining official Harold Ward said it could take 21 to 28 days to clean the creek. Officials haven't spotted fish kills.

Ward said the company has set up barriers to stop flow into the Kanawha. An environmental agency news release said the company is using vacuum trucks and pumping water from the stream near its plant into settling ponds.

The state doesn't expect the spill to have a major impact on the Kanawha.

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