The dam at Hurricane Fork in Russell County. Courtesy of Virginia Department of Energy.

Work will soon begin on a Virginia Department of Energy project along Hurricane Fork in Russell County. An Abandoned Mine Land grant of $527,289.36 will remove a hazardous dam and pump house at the site that was left over after the completion of historic coal mining.

According to a release from the department, historic underground mining began at the site in the 1940’s and continued until the early 1980’s. Virginia Energy oversees the AML program that develops projects to reclaim issues caused by coal mining before 1977.

C&S Construction and Excavating LLC was awarded the contract for this project. Reclamation of the site will include removal of the dam, pump house and relocation of the stream to ensure long-term integrity of the existing retaining wall. A wetland area will also be constructed alongside the retaining wall to offer a diverse habitat at the site.

Virginia Energy’s Abandoned Mine Land program was established after the passing of the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act in 1977. The agency manages a federal grant to reclaim issues caused by coal mining that occurred before that date. The federal funds come from the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement.

On Oct. 1, The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy became Virginia Energy. The Abandoned Mine Land program now falls under the Mined Land Repurposing program within Virginia Energy.