Department of Environmental Protection

Chemical Leak
5:11 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

DEP Tank Registration Program Opens

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection recently opened its online tank registration program. Tanks meeting specific guidelines must be registered by October 1.
Credit 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.

Read more
11:22 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Was This Fayette County Waste Pit Leaking?

Credit Jessica Lilly

Danny Webb Construction began shutting down above ground pits last month in Fayette County that held oil and gas waste. The waste likely came from horizontal drilling operations.

In a more recent development, the DEP says a tank that was holding some of that waste, leaked during the process, but was cleaned up.

Concerned citizens have been expressing concerns with this particular operation for years.

Environmental groups ran some tests last year and while results have turned up inconclusive, it still raised red flags.

Listen to hear Marc Glass explain findings from samples taken near the site.

Read more
Job Loss Conerns
11:19 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

UMWA Joins Coal Industry to Oppose EPA Regs

Jimmy Rose singing to the coal miners at Alliance coal in Henderson, KY.

The United Mine Workers of America is joining the coal industry in a rare occasion to oppose proposed regulations meant to curb carbon emissions.  The industry worries the regulations will financially cripple coal’s economy, as well as West Virginia and everyone dependent on a coal job.

With 95 percent of the energy produced in West Virginia coming from coal fired power plants, many within the industry feel the state will be the hardest hit by the new proposal.

Roger Horton, a retired miner from Logan County paints a grim picture already evolving in coal country.

He sees an EPA ignoring its economic impact on countless coal mining families.

Read more
Tygart Lake State Park
11:50 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Mine Operator Proposes Alternate Shaft Location

Credit WVDNR Photo

A coal mine operator has proposed an alternate location for a ventilation shaft near Grafton's Tygart Lake State Park after residents and park visitors complained.

Read more
Chemical Spill
11:15 am
Wed May 28, 2014

West Virginia Storage Tank Website Up and Running

Credit Department of Environmental Protection

Members of the public now have full access to comments collected by the state Department of Environmental Protection on a newly passed law. That law requires the DEP to create a regulatory program for above ground storage tanks in order to protect the state’s water.

Read more
Chemical Safety
11:27 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Transparency is Key in Aboveground Tank Rulemaking, Expert Says

Evan Hansen, Downstream Strategies
Credit Twiter / @hansenevan

  The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection announced last week that they are seeking public input on what should be included in the rules to regulate aboveground storage tanks. The director of a Morgantown-based environmental consulting firm is hoping to be able to see who is submitting ideas, and what those ideas are.

Read more
West Virginia Morning
8:21 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Solutions for Ending Population Decline, DEP's Public Comment Process, & Richwood's Ramp Revival

With an expected population decline and negative stereotypes surrounding young people who choose to stay in the state, we hear a few proposed solutions for the issue. Evan Hansen of Downstream Strategies talks about the Department of Environmental Protection's public comment period for above-ground storage tank regulation. Also, Richwood sees a revival with their annual Feast of the Ramson.


Chemical Spill
7:21 am
Thu May 1, 2014

EPA to Gauge Safety of Inhaling MCHM

Credit AP

  Months after a chemical spilled into 300,000 West Virginians' water source, federal officials want to determine at what level people can safely breathe the chemical's fumes.

Over the next few months, the Environmental Protection Agency will work on detecting crude MCHM in the air and creating a safety standard for inhaling it.

Read more
10:44 am
Mon April 28, 2014

WVU Faces Fine for Waste Violations

Credit Swimmerguy269 / wikimedia Commons

State regulators have proposed a $33,380 fine for West Virginia University for violating hazardous waste storage practices. The fine stems from an inspection by the Department of Environmental Protection last September. A proposed DEP consent order says the violations include failing to mark the date of accumulation on a container of hazardous waste, and failing to keep containers closed except when adding or removing wastes.

Read more
Water Spill
3:39 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

WV DEP Seeking Public Comments on Storage Tank Regulation Rules

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is seeking public input as it prepares to write new regulations on storage tanks.
Credit 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.

Read more
Energy & Environment
2:02 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Cease Orders for Two Antero Sites in W.Va. Lifted

Credit Antero Resources

 Antero Resources can resume operations at two drilling sites where water storage tanks ruptured recently.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has lifted orders requiring Antero to cease operations at the well pad sites in Doddridge and Harrison counties.

Read more
Chemical Spill
4:14 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Freedom Industries Submits Site Remediation Plan

This photo from the Chemical Safety Board shows the holes in the Freedom Industries tank that allowed the January 9 spill into the Elk River.
Credit @chemsafetyboard / Twitter

Freedom Industries has submitted its remediation plan to the state Department of Environmental Protection to address environmental conditions at the company’s Charleston storage tank facility. The facility was the site of the Jan. 9 chemical spill of MCHM and PPH into the Elk River. 

The site remediation plan was developed by Civil & Environmental Consultants, a Pennsylvania-based firm also responsible for Freedom's tank decommissioning plan submitted to the DEP in March. It includes a summary of water quality sampling and remedial measures Freedom Industries has already implemented at the spill site.

Read more
Fracking Safety
2:44 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

Water Tanks Explode at Doddridge County Well Site

Credit Antero Resources

State regulators are investigating the rupture of two water tanks at an Antero Resources well pad in Doddridge County.

The Department of Environmental Protection says its inspectors believe the rupture was caused by a buildup of pressure in the tanks.

The rupture occurred Friday at Antero's Marsden well pad. No injuries were reported.

Antero chief administration officer Alvyn Schopp tells The Exponent Telegram that the tanks are used to hold water that's separated from gas extracted at the drilling site.

Read more
Chemical Leak
7:28 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Wastewater from Freedom Spill Sent to Ohio, North Carolina

Credit AP

Wastewater containing a chemical that spilled into the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians is heading to Ohio and North Carolina.
State Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater says Freedom Industries started sending wastewater to an Ohio underground injection control well site this week.
The material was vacuumed out of Freedom's tanks and the Elk River. Freedom was storing it at its Nitro facility.

Read more
12:59 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Is the Water Safe Yet?

Lead in text: 
In this piece from The Atlantic, Marin Cogan details how little was (and still is) known about MCHM, the chemical spilled into the Elk River by Freedom Industries on January 9 and affected the drinking water of West Virginians across nine counties. The story also highlights failures in policy--from state and federal agencies--such as the Department of Environmental Protection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Robert Thaw was in the woods when he first heard the news. Every Thursday night, the Charleston-based surveyor and his friends take their mountain bikes to the Kanawha State Forest for a long, punishing ride to work off stress and energy from the week.
Energy & Environment
11:43 am
Thu March 27, 2014

White Foam on Elk River Investigated, WVAM Says No Effect on Water Quality

Credit Department of Environmental Protection

Updated Thursday March 27, 2014 at 10:53 p.m.

West Virginia America Water says test results of foam samples taken earlier today from the Elk River are complete. As the company suspected in a release earlier today, the completed test results "indicate no changes to source water quality and no characteristics outside of typical water quality parameters."

The company manages an intake for 30,000 residents in Charleston and surrounding areas that lost access to clean tap water after a chemical spill contaminated the Elk River on January 9.

In previous statements West Virginia American Water pointed out  that foam can naturally occur in organic waterways.

“After receiving notification of a foam on the Elk River this morning, and with the health and safety of our customers as our number one priority, we made the decision to shut down the plant’s raw water intake pumps for approximately two hours until more information could be gathered,” President Jeff McIntyre said in a release late Thursday night.

“System conditions today allowed for the plant to maintain adequate water storage during this brief time, which was a very different circumstance than on the day of the Freedom Industries spill. At that time, the decision to maintain water service to customers for firefighting and basic sanitation was the best decision for the communities we serve.”

Updated Thursday March 27, 2014 at 6:16 p.m.

The 35th Civil Support Team of the West Virginia National Guard Thursday afternoon received a sample of the foam on the Elk River drawn by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Lawrence Messina of Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety said the CST tested the sample with a gas chromatography–mass spectrometry instrument to identify whether the foam contained man-made substances.

"Analysis of the chromatograph did not show any compounds present in the sample," said Messina in an email.

Read more
Chemical Leak
10:29 am
Tue March 25, 2014

State DEP Asked to Void Chemical Wastewater Dumping Permit

Credit Department of Environmental Protection

The state Department of Environmental Protection is being asked to void a permit that allowed wastewater to be transported from the site of a Charleston chemical spill to a Putnam County landfill.
The Charleston Gazette reports the county and the city of Hurricane made the request last week.
Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards says he wasn't told about Waste Management's plan to dump the material mixed with sawdust at the Disposal Services landfill. The water contains traces of the crude MCHM that spilled Jan. 9, contaminating 300,000 people's drinking water for days.   

Read more
4:10 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

DEP, DHHR: Chemical Leak Legal Action Now Moot

Lead in text: 
Near the beginning of February, public interest groups Appalachian Mountain Advocates and Mountain State Justice filed an emergency petition with the state Supreme Court against DHHR and DEP for not adequately responding to public concerns after the January 9 leak by Freedom Industries. In response to the petition, the two agencies now point to legislation passed in response to the spill.
  • Source: Wvgazette
  • | Via: The Charleston Gazette
DEP, DHHR: Chemical leak legal action now moot CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two Tomblin administration agencies are arguing that passage of new legislation aimed at avoiding a repeat of January's Elk River chemical leak makes moot a legal action accusing those agencies of inaction to prevent such disasters.
Chemical Leak
3:54 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

DEP Cites Company That Moved Chemicals for Freedom Industries

Credit AP

West Virginia regulators have issued notices of environmental violations to a company that cleaned up and hauled a chemical from the site of a spill which contaminated the tap water of 300,000 residents.
The Department of Environmental Protection said Friday it issued two violations to Diversified Services LLC in St. Albans after a sheen was detected in a drainage system that empties into a tributary of the Kanawha River.

Read more
Lochghelly Injection Well
8:08 am
Fri March 14, 2014

W.Va. DEP Orders Fayette Co. Frack Waste Permit Revoked

Above ground waste pits sit close to the underground injection wells in Fayette County.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has ordered a permit for an underground injection well in Fayette County to be revoked.

The DEP renewed the permit for a class two (UIC), or underground injection control disposal well owned by Danny Webb Construction on February 6.

The permit allows the company to accept fluids from oil and gas exploration, development drilling, and production fluids for another five years. 

Read more