An independent research team hired by Gov. Tomblin to further study the chemical that contaminated the water supply of 300,00 West Virginians in January released their final report Thursday.
The West Virginia Testing Assessment Project, or WVTAP, began studying MCHM in February and has released results along the way. Thursday’s report includes their previously released findings and recommendations for moving forward.
The group recommends the state create a chemical storage inventory program, something they accomplished during the previous legislative session. They also say state officials should consider bringing independent experts, like them, on board as early as possible during a time of crisis.
WVTAP says a study on the health effects from long term exposure to the chemical is necessary, but is something they did not have the resources to take on.
They also recommend water utilities inventory the chemicals in close proximity to their source water and utilize early warning systems.
Timeline: A Look Back at the WV TAP Project
Click here to view the timeline full screen.
When the contract was initially announced in February, Tomblin said he would set aside about $650,000 for the project. Less than two weeks later, members of the team asked for an additional $112,000 to pay for unanticipated costs.
According to records from the state Auditor’s Office, the state was billed a total of $814,995 to Corona Environmental Consulting, LLC, the lead partner in the WVTAP project. As recently as June 24, the state made a payment of $57,563.
A spokeswoman for the DHHR said Friday the list of payments above shows a discrepancy in reporting versus the actual amount spent. An invoice for $50,000 was incorrectly entered into the system in March and later canceled. According to the Auditor's Office, the total state pay out for the program was $757,431.87.
Rosen said there are no plans yet to present their findings to the West Virginia Legislature, but water utilities around the country have already contacted his group for information about their findings.