Elk River Chemical Spill

Foo Conner / Flickr

West Virginia American Water Co. is asking a federal judge to delay a class-action lawsuit over a chemical spill that tainted tap water for 300,000 people in 2014.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that in a court filing on Thursday, attorneys for the water company asked U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. to postpone the trial for 60 days, from its current starting date of July 12 until Sept. 12.

Recently, The Center for Investigative Reporting's 'Reveal' released an episode called 'Do Not Drink: The Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan.' The producers of the show then wondered about water crises elsewhere and how communities reacted. The January 2014 Elk River chemical spill came to mind and they asked me to contribute some insight into the event and what's happened since.


  A former executive with direct oversight of a West Virginia chemical tank farm that leaked and fouled a drinking water supply has been sentenced to one month in federal prison.

Gary Southern also was fined $20,000 Wednesday in federal court in Charleston.

Southern was the last of six ex-Freedom Industries officials sentenced on pollution charges.

W.Va. Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority

A lawsuit claims some West Virginia inmates were so desperate for water they tried to drink from toilets during a water crisis.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A former executive of a chemical storage facility in West Virginia has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and order to pay a $20,000 fine. The charges stemmed a January 2014 chemical spill that left some 300,000 area residents without water for days.

Former Freedom Industries owner Dennis Farrell will serve time for federal pollution violations.

Four other ex-Freedom officials have been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay fines.

Dollar Photo Club

Representatives from 37 citizen groups fighting for “water justice” met Tuesday at the Capitol to release a letter of solidarity with Flint, Michigan.

The letter, dated February 9th, parallels the 2014 West Virginia Water Crisis with the water crisis currently unfolding in Flint.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A bankrupt chemical company responsible for a spill that contaminated a West 

  Virginia river and fouled the drinking water supply of 300,000 residents has been sentenced to the maximum possible penalty on pollution charges.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Six former Freedom Industries officials are set to be sentenced this month on pollution charges two years after a chemical spill into the Elk River in Charleston fouled the drinking water supply of 300,000 West Virginians.

West Virginia American Water
Foo Conner / Flickr

A new report released just days after the second anniversary of the Elk River Spill highlights shortcomings of the private water company that dealt with the spill. 300,000 people were told not to use their water for days following the accident.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Two former Freedom Industries executives have agreed to a settlement in a class-action lawsuit stemming from a chemical spill that tainted tap water for 300,000 people.

Under the proposed settlement, former Freedom President Gary Southern would pay $350,000 and former executive Dennis Farrell would pay $50,000.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Neighbors might detect the telltale scent of licorice as crews excavate soil contaminated by the 2014 Freedom Industries spill.

The excavation is scheduled to begin Monday at the site, which was the epicenter of a public water crisis for weeks. The spill into the Elk River left hundreds of thousands of residents in Charleston and neighboring counties without access to public water supplies.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A contractor is set to begin excavating soil contaminated by the January 2014 chemical leak that fouled public water supplies for hundreds of thousands of people in Charleston and the surrounding region.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says the contractor hired by Freedom Industries will start digging Monday. Up to 10,000 tons of soil will be removed.

Freedom Industries

More than $2 million will be distributed to residents and businesses affected by a 2014 chemical spill in West Virginia under a liquidation plan approved by a bankruptcy judge.

Freedom Industries' plan also will provide $1.4 million to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and environmental firms for continued cleanup work.

Foo Conner / Flickr

An advocacy group formed after the January 2014 Elk River Chemical spill will launch a campaign aimed to create a publicly-owned water system in the Kanawha Valley.

In a Thursday news release, Advocates for a Safe Water System says the organization will launch the “Our Water” campaign Tuesday at the University of Charleston.  The group seeks to have a public takeover of West Virginia American Water.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As two last executives are expected to plead guilty this week in a massive chemical spill, statements by one of them are fueling another lawsuit.

A deposition by ex-Freedom Industries executive Dennis Farrell says Eastman Chemical never told him its chemical could corrode tanks.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A judge has scheduled a guilty plea hearing for the last executive charged in a chemical spill that contaminated West Virginia's biggest drinking water supply.

In Charleston federal court Wednesday, Judge Thomas Johnston set an Aug. 18 hearing for former Freedom Industries executive Dennis Farrell.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says prosecutors generally file for guilty plea hearings when a defendant has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge or charges.

Elk River Chemical spill
wikimedia / Wikimedia

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced today that scientific studies conducted by the National Toxicology Program indicate that appropriate public health measures were taken during the 2014 Elk River Chemical Spill.

Dr. John Bucher, Associate Director of the NTP said the findings support the adequacy of the drinking water advisory levels established at the time of the spill.  He says NTP used a comprehensive suite of state-of-the-art toxicology tools to look at the spilled chemicals, and found very little reason for concern about long-term health effects.

At the recommendation of the National Toxicology Program and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHR has chosen to launch a birthweight study to perform an analysis of children with low birthweights born during the period of the chemical spill in the nine affected counties.

Dr. Patrick Breysse, the Director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health said that it's reassuring that the NTP study results confirm  the determination in the early days of the spill that the levels of MCHM in drinking water were not likely to be associated with adverse health effects.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, reports about two laws taking effect today.  One of them de-regulates some aboveground storage tanks and another makes it easier for craft breweries to do business in the state.  These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Two former Freedom Industries executives have been arraigned on a second superseding indictment stemming from a massive chemical spill last January.

The indictment contains a new charge against former Freedom President Gary Southern dealing with the company's bankruptcy. It restates original charges against him and former Freedom official Dennis Farrell.

Southern faces an additional count of lying under oath in bankruptcy court. He faces up to 93 years in prison if convicted.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Freedom Industries is proposing paying $6.7 million to various parties, including victims of the company's January 2014 chemical spill.

In Charleston federal bankruptcy court Thursday, the company proposed a plan to offer spill victims $2.7 million.

The January 2014 spill contaminated 300,000 residents' tap water for days. Businesses that couldn't operate without water, including restaurants, and individuals are seeking compensation.