Bowser Hollow culvert. Photo by Va. Department of Energy.

The Virginia Department of Energy has declared an abandoned mine emergency after a residence became inaccessible in Pound in Wise County.

Runoff from an historic coal mine filled the culvert in front of the home blocking entry, according to a releae from the department. The residence is located below a surface mine that operated until 1975. An Abandoned Mine Land grant of $22,055 will replace a failed culvert and restore access to the home. Virginia Energy oversees the AML program that develops projects to reclaim issues caused by coal mining before 1977.

“We knew we had to act fast when we learned this was the home of an elderly resident,” said Virginia Energy Director of Coal Programs Randy Moore in a statement. “We have crews working on-site today to make sure safe access is reestablished and that the erosion and drainage from this historic coal mine site is properly diverted to prevent this from happening again.”  

AJS Excavating, Inc. was awarded the contract. They will construct a new culvert and replace the damaged bridge. Work is expected to be completed at this site on Bowser Hollow Road in Pound in just a few days, according to the department.

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