Chemical Leak

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  Prosecutors oppose a motion by former executives asking a judge to move their criminal case over a chemical spill.

In Charleston federal court Thursday, prosecutors wrote that ex-Freedom Industries officials Gary Southern and Dennis Farrell didn't sufficiently prove that public sentiment over a water crisis is so prejudiced that fair and impartial jurors can't be found in southern West Virginia.

photo by Cecelia Mason

Appalachia is no stranger to industrial or environmental disasters that affect our water. Because of crumbling water infrastructure in many coalfield communities, folks often turn to bottled water for regular use.

But not all bottled water is equal. At least that’s according to judges at the 25th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting & Competition, which took place February 19-22. The competition judges the taste of bottled water, purified water, and municipal city waters from across the world were judged.

January 2nd of 2014 the Lisby Pad explosion spilled an unknown amount of "black sludge" associated with a horizontal drilling site in Tyler County into a feeder stream of a local municipality's source water stream.
Bill Hughes

 

State senators in Charleston took action this week to roll back aboveground tank regulations put in place after last year’s chemical spill which contaminated water for hundreds of thousands of West Virginians.

wvva.com

Lewisburg is asking its water customers to conserve water following a diesel fuel spill.

WVWaterHistory.com

An online interactive documentary launches today. WVWaterHistory.com outlines history that lead up to the Charleston water crisis of 2014 which left 300,000 for over a week without water. The site also explores other water challenges the state has and continues to face.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It was some ten days before all of the families affected by the tap water ban following Charleston’s chemical spill were able to return to life as usual within their homes. And many did just that, once again drinking, cooking and bathing with water straight from the tap. The same, however, can’t be said for every family in the valley including Lida Shepherd, who says she still won’t drink the water.

Mike Youngren / Presidio Studios in Lewisburg

Mike Youngren has lived in Charleston for the last 20 years. A West Virginia Public Broadcasting alum, Youngren pursued filmmaking after retiring. When the January 9th chemical leak happened, Youngren decided the problem was widespread enough for people to stop to pay attention to what he had to say. With this in mind, he decided to develop his documentary, Elk River Blues.

Elk River Chemical spill
wikimedia / Wikimedia

Leaders of citizen groups, a water scientist and an impacted mother held a phone-based news conference this week to look back on the crisis and outline the progress, pitfalls and next steps in their work to ensure safe drinking water for all West Virginians.

WOWK

A judge has heard arguments over recusing prosecutors from a case charging former executives in a chemical spill.

In Charleston federal court Monday, ex-Freedom Industries executives Gary Southern and Dennis Farrell claimed U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office and family members were victims of the company's spill and have conflicts of interest. Last January's spill left 300,000 residents without tap water for days.

DuPont's Washington Works
Parkersburg News & Sentinel

Dozens of West Virginia residents have filed lawsuits against chemical company DuPont for contaminating drinking water.

WOWK

Federal prosecutors want a former executive charged in a January chemical spill on home confinement with electronic monitoring.

Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.
Department of Labor

West Virginia University's School of Public Health is kicking off a series of monthly Public Health Dialogues this week. The first in the series is titled "Black Lung and Chemical Spills: 100 years of Poor Health in West Virginia."

Freedom Industries
AP

The West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) is holding a discovery conference on Monday, August 18th in its ongoing investigation of West Virginia American Water's response to the January 9th chemical spill.

DEP Tank Registration Program Opens

Jun 13, 2014
Freedom Industries
AP

Recently, an overflow of water from a trench at the Freedom Industries tank site in Kanawha County reached the Elk River. West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection issued two notices of violation to Freedom for the incident. But while that tank site is being monitored regularly, the DEP is also beginning to focus attention on a whole bunch of other aboveground storage tanks too, that aren't receiving as much attention. Ben Adducchio has more.

Elk River Chemical spill
wikimedia / Wikimedia

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection wants public input on what should be included in the rules to regulate aboveground storage tanks, according to an agency release.
 
The release says as a requirement of the newly passed Senate Bill 373, also known as “The Water Resources Protection Act,” and to others simply as “The Tank Bill,” the agency must draft rules for a new Aboveground Storage Tank Regulatory Program in time for lawmakers to consider them during the 2015 legislative session.

WVU Panel Looks Into Charleston Water Spill

Mar 21, 2014
Graphic Detailing the Elk River zone of critical concern, from downstream strategies new report.
Downstream Strategies

Monday evening, a special panel will be discussing the recent water spill into the Elk River.

This panel will be made up of journalists who covered the event, which affected the water supply of about 300,000 state residents.

This panel at West Virginia University is designed to analyze local and national coverage of this event. It will also discuss how crisis news coverage has changed, in today’s digital news media environment.

Maryanne Reed is the dean of West Virginia University’s P.I. Reed School of Journalism.

Daniel Walker

There is little doubt that the bill aimed to protect water resources in the state, in response to the Jan. 9 spill of MCHM into the Elk River by Freedom Industries, has been the most closely watched and widely discussed bill of the session.

Although the Senate passed SB 373 less that two weeks after its introduction, its passage  in the House took far longer--a result of a triple committee reference that offered a chance for roughly 60 delegates to offer amendments to the bill. Delegates also labored over 20 amendments on the bill's Third Reading Wednesday night before deciding to send the bill back to the Senate.

Here's a few highlights from Wednesday night's floor session leading up to SB 373's passage:

Aaron Payne

Senate Bill 373 relating to water resources protection was sent to the House nearly one month ago to go through three committee stops. Two weeks ago the bill made it through the Health and Human Resource Committee with amendments to be sent to the Judiciary Committee. Wednesday, the second committee used its meeting to hear from Downstream Strategies President Evan Hansen.

Kanawha County Schools

Test results show bottled water provided to Kanawha County Schools do not contain coliform after a health official discontinued its use Wednesday.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department ran tests for coliform, an indicator of bacteria, after complaints that the water had a musty smell and an issue with taste.