Elk River Chemical Spill

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Demolition has started on at the site of a January chemical spill in Charleston that contaminated public drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians.

Independence Excavating began the demolition process Tuesday by knocking down a brick wall, tearing out piping, and removing materials connected to the tanks. Freedom Chief Restructuring Officer Mark Welch says the first cuts to the tanks will come Wednesday.

Freedom Industries
AP

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has approved a stormwater management plan for the demolition of the Charleston Freedom Industries site. The tanks there were involved in the contamination of the drinking water for some 300,000 West Virginians in January.

According to the plan approved Monday, Freedom Industries contractors will place liners over the footprint of the tanks to prevent stormwater from unintentionally entering the ground.

Contractors will also halt the demolition process if more than two inches of rain falls within a six-hour period.

Freedom Industries
AP

  State and federal environmental officials say they don't have a way to monitor air quality as chemical storage tanks are taken down at the industrial site that fouled public drinking supplies for 300,000 West Virginia water customers.

The work is scheduled to begin next week at the former Freedom Industries site on the Elk River.

A spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection told The Charleston Gazette the state lacks the technology to perform the air testing for traces of the toxic chemical MCHM. She also said there are no established screening values for safe inhalation levels.

  The federal Chemical Safety Board is coming to Charleston next week to release findings about a New Cumberland metal recycling plant explosion that killed three workers in December 2010.

The board said Thursday that it also will update the public on its investigation of a January chemical spill at the July 16 meeting. The Freedom Industries tank leak contaminated drinking in the Kanawha Valley for days.

AP

  A new study shows a chemical that spilled into West Virginia's biggest drinking water supply in January could be more toxic than a previous test indicated. But the researcher behind the study cautions there are differences between his tests and earlier studies.

University of South Alabama researcher Dr. Andrew Whelton released the findings Thursday from crude MCHM toxicity tests on freshwater fleas.

Freedom Industries
AP

  After running into asbestos problems, the company at the center of a January spill into West Virginia's biggest water supply plans to start dismantling its tanks Monday.

Freedom Industries Chief Restructuring Officer Mark Welch described the new start time Tuesday in bankruptcy court in Charleston.

The company has delayed the teardown multiple times. Freedom stalled its start last weekend because of asbestos issues in tank gaskets and elsewhere.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A federal agency has fined the company that spilled chemicals into West Virginia's largest water supply $11,000 for a pair of violations.

The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Freedom Industries $7,000 for keeping storage tanks containing crude MCHM behind a diked wall that was not liquid tight. On Jan. 9, roughly 10,000 gallons of MCHM leaked from one of the tanks and through the riverside diked wall and left 300,000 residents without clean water for days.

OSHA also fined Freedom Industries $4,000 for failing to have standard railings on an elevated platform.

water faucet
wikimedia

The state Department of Health and Human Resources released the results Monday of a survey of households in the nine county area affected by the January chemical spill. The results are similar to those released in previous months.

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

West Virginia American Water entered written testimony last week in the Public Service Commission's investigation into the January chemical leak in Charleston. The PSC wanted more information about how the company responded to the crisis, including justification for not shutting of their source water intake.

State officials are working on a list of animals they feel are too dangerous to own as pets and a North Central West Virginia man's Facebook project is picking up steam as he tries to introduce you to the 'Humans of Fairmont.'

West Virginia American Water
Foo Conner / Flickr

In May, the Public Service Commission of West Virginia opened a general investigation into West Virginia American Water’s response to January chemical spill at Freedom Industries. The investigation followed heavy scrutiny from the public over the water company not shutting down their intake along the Elk River downstream of the spill.

Foo Conner / Flickr

West Virginia American Water has met Wednesday's deadline to provide testimony to the Public Service Commission regarding an investigation into the water company’s response to the January chemical spill into the Elk River.  

In May, the PSC opened a general investigation into the incident.

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

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection heard the thoughts and opinions of members of the public on lifting an exemption that prevents the Kanawha River from being used a source for public drinking water. The discussion comes after a chemical leak into the Elk River left 300,000 West Virginians without usable drinking water for up to 10 days.

Elk River Chemical spill
wikimedia / Wikimedia

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health released Friday information from physicians who reported seeing patients outside of the ER for symptoms possibly associated with the Elk River Chemical Spill.

 

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

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.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A federal lawsuit blames a Charleston airport runway project for the January chemical spill that left 300,000 residents without clean water for days.

The lawsuit says Yeager Airport's completed runway extension never safeguarded against stormwater runoff.

In court papers filed Friday, plaintiffs say the airport let water flow to Freedom Industries, where water eroded a tank's foundation.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A federal bankruptcy judge has set an Aug. 1 deadline for financial claims by West Virginia residents and businesses affected by a January chemical spill in Charleston that contaminated the local water supply.

Proof of claims forms can be obtained and filed on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's website. The Charleston Gazette reports business losses must be accompanied by documentation, while residents don't need such documentation for personal damage.

water faucet
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A Department of Health and Human Resources official says the agency might need additional funding to implement new drinking water safety legislation.

The law requires water systems across the state to craft plans to protect their water supplies. The DHHR's Bureau for Public Health is tasked with overseeing the plans' creation.

The bureau's director of public health regulations, Ann Goldberg, says the bureau projects the program to cost nearly $1.9 million in its first year. The cost is expected to decline in future years.

The Legislature allocated $1.5 million for the bureau's work.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Freedom Industries is ousting the contractor responsible for spills last week at the site of a January leak into the state's biggest drinking water supply.

Freedom Chief Restructuring Officer Mark Welch says the company is transitioning past Civil & Environmental Consultants. The change could take a few weeks.

State Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman on Tuesday urged Freedom to replace the Pittsburgh contractor, which heads site cleanup.

Freedom Industries
AP

Regulators are pushing Freedom Industries to oust the contractor responsible for spills last week at the site of a January leak into the state's biggest drinking water supply.

State Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman said Tuesday he wants Civil & Environmental Consultants gone. The Pittsburgh contractor heads site cleanup.

Stormwater from a Freedom trench poured into the Elk River Thursday and Friday. Tests at the water treatment plant showed no chemical traces either day.

Huffman says he can urge, not force, Freedom to replace the contractor.

Freedom Industries
AP

The company that spilled chemicals into West Virginia's largest water supply in January will staff the site around the clock to prevent further spills during cleanup.

After spilling stormwater into the Elk River twice last week, Freedom Industries told the Department of Environmental Protection it would keep contractors at its Charleston site 24 hours a day.

Regulators said Thursday's spill sent a small amount of water into the river. A 50-minute overflow occurred Friday during a thunderstorm.

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