POUND, Va. (WJHL) – Two emergencies have been declared in Pound after the Virginia Department of Energy (Virginia Energy) discovered recent rains had opened up a “void” and washed out a road.

A release from Virginia Energy states that “recent heavy rainfall caused issues with subsidence and drainage” from old coal mining operations, leading to the declaration of two Abandoned Mine Land (AML) emergencies.

The first relates to a subsided mine on Sunnydale Farm Road. Following the rain, the ground opened close to two homes, “creating a 15-feet deep void,” according to Virginia Energy.

The second emergency was declared after an access road to two homes on Bowser Hollow Road was washed out.

The two emergencies are each in the process of being addressed thanks to AML grants.

“Both of these issues put residents in danger,” said Abandoned Mine Land Manager Lesa Baker in the release. “Public safety is our first priority at Virginia Energy so we were able to get crews to the site quickly to fix these problems. Heavy rainfall often increases the impact of issues caused by abandoned mine lands so it is not uncommon for our team to receive several calls after.”  

The release states a grant of $137,700 will be used to fill the void and stabilize the area around the underground mine. Virginia Energy reports an excavating firm is already working on Sunnydale Farm Road to fill the hole with concrete and grout. The mine was active between 1950 and 1960.

Another business has begun work on the access road thanks to a $65,000 grant. Work will include building drainage controls, upgrading an existing ditch and adding two culverts. Virginia Energy reported stone will also be set along the nearby streambank, and the road will be resurfaced.