Monday, June 20, 2011

More on Marmet

Here is some more information on the Marmet Locks and Dam on the Kanawha River, mentioned in my previous post.

I checked the Corps of Engineers' online searchable database of cargo movements to see how much coal moves through Marmet in a year. The reason: When I was up above Marmet last Monday, I was surprised, sort of, by the number of river terminals accepting coal from big trucks and loading it onto barges. We used to have several of those things on the Ohio River in my area, from Portsmouth to Pomeroy, Ohio, but they started going away in the 1980s as coal mines played out.

Here are the numbers for the three navigation dams on the Kanawha, listing coal movements from June 1, 2010, to May 31, 2011:

Winfield: 2,911,185 tons upbound; 12,234,566 tons downbound.
Marmet: 135,500 tons upbound; 12,861,802 tons downbound.
London: 18,000 tons upbound; 3,150,448 tons downbound.

I can't speak for chemical or metals plants on the Kanawha that might use coal, mainly because I don't know of any. But I do know there are two coal-burning power plants on the Kanawha. One is the Kanawha River plant in the Marmet pool. The other is the John Amos plant, one of the dozen largest coal-burning plants in the US. It's in the Winfield pool, and it would explain some of the numbers.

If you start at the London pool and work your way downriver, you see there's a net increase of 9,711,354 tons moving through Marmet and a net decrease of 627,236 tons through Winfield. If you look at the upbound numbers, you see a net decrease of 2,775,685 tons between Winfield and Marmet. That tells me Amos and other users in the Winfield pool consumed 3,402,921 tons of coal that moved on the Kanawha River. If my math is right -- I'm doing this by hand -- that's 2,269 barges of coal loaded to 1,500 tons each.

Another thing: The 2.9 million tons that came upbound through Winfield had to come from the Ohio River.

Downbound, Marmet handled about 8,575 loaded coal barges and Winfield 8,157. Again, about all of the coal that moved through Winfield downbound went to the Ohio River.