Bright Copper Water Cascades Onto Route 7 Outside Bridgeport - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Bright Copper Water Cascades Onto Route 7 Outside Bridgeport

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Officials say it's typically seen when old abandoned coal mines become filled with water. Officials say it's typically seen when old abandoned coal mines become filled with water.
Belmont County, Ohio -

Bright copper water has cascaded over a portion of Route 7 between Bridgeport and Bellaire.

Officials say it's typically seen when old abandoned coal mines become filled with water.

Cars and trucks are driving through it and getting splashed with a thick coat of orange mud, and ODOT workers are doing their best, but there's an endless supply of mud where that came from.

ODOT got the first call at 4 a.m., Thursday, from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

At that point it was a huge mudslide, covering all four lanes of the highway.

"We were able to take a truck down there with a snow plow and plow all the debris, water and mud off the road," says Ty Justice of ODOT. "At that time, we also treated the road with salt and grit because we were afraid with the temperature being at 27 degrees there could be a chance of the road freezing."

It's a familiar scenario in the Ohio Valley and residents are used to it but not happy about it.

"We've got a lot of coal mines around here, and it has always leaked out in red water," says Wilda Sambuco of Shadyside. "So I think the city, the county, or whoever it is, should be taking care of that. They should divert that water in some other direction."

"That stuff is coming from all these old abandoned coal mines," said Gary Blake of Shadyside. "It's killing our fish, it's unsafe for human consumption. You've got kids going out swimming in creeks that it's running in. It can't be healthy."

People are complaining on social media, saying they are tracking the orange mud into their garages and homes.

Officials say there is no abandoned mine "on record" in that area, but it could have been an unmapped family operation.

They say an additional complication is a spring in the hillside just above the mine.

ODOT is finding it a challenge.

"We'll have to wait and see what the Ohio Department of Natural Resources directs us to do, or how we are going to fix the problem," said Justice.