Forget sipping fresh mountain spring water — Appalachia has a salty river problem and coal mining is to blame.
The salt leaches into the streams and rivers from crushed rock and coal that gets deposited in valleys from mountaintop-removal mining.
The leeching then causes consistently higher levels of salt in the water, damaging the ecosystems that lie downstream.
It’s not just Appalachia that is suffering from this problem, though it is hit the hardest.
High salinity in river and stream water can cause significant issues for a large portion of the eastern US, highlighting a relatively unknown aspect of the largely harmful practice of coal mining.
Mountains are being changed by the mining and the surrounding land is being transformed — that is, damaged — by the crushed mountain debris that results.