Elk River Chemical Spill

Chemical Leak
11:51 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Chemical Safety Board to Begin Analysis of Freedom Industries' Tanks

Credit AP

Federal investigators will start cutting up tanks for evidence at the site of the chemical spill that tainted the drinking water supply in nine West Virginia counties.

Chemical Safety Board spokeswoman Hillary Cohen says on April 24 the agency plans to begin removing parts of three Freedom Industries tanks. Each contained the same coal-cleaning chemicals, crude MCHM and PPH.

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Chemical Leak
4:01 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Local Health Department Joining W.Va. Chemical Spill Lawsuit

Dr. Rahul Gupta
Credit Kanawha Charleston Health Department

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department plans to join the city of Charleston in suing over a Jan. 9 chemical spill that contaminated 300,000 West Virginians' water supply.
 
County Health Department board members voted Tuesday to partner on the lawsuit. The city hasn't filed anything yet.

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WNPR's Where We Live
1:01 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Update on West Virginia's Elk River Chemical Spill

Elk River, Charleston West Virginia

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 10:22 am

In January, West Virginia’s Elk River was contaminated by a chemical spill from a nearby coal processing plant, affecting 300,000 local residents. People were without water for days. Now months later, is the water safe to drink? 

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Chemical Leak
10:07 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Report: Freedom Industries President 'Bears No Fault' in January Spill

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

An attorney says the president of a company that spilled chemicals into 300,000 West Virginians' water supply "bears no fault" for the incident.
 
Gary Southern of Freedom Industries on Friday withdrew an application to get paid for work already completed during bankruptcy proceedings. He wanted Freedom and its insurance to cover his legal fees.
 

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Federal Water Regulations
8:33 am
Fri April 4, 2014

U.S. Chemical Safety Bill Passes Senate Committee

Although it’s only the first step in a long road on Capitol Hill, Senator Joe Manchin’s Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act was passed unanimously by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Thursday.

 “He knows full well what happens when a community is upended because some kind of chemical gets into the drinking water supply and he went to work,” said Committee Chair Sen. Barbara Boxer of Calif.

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West Virginia Morning
8:20 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Remembering UBB, Protecting the Country's Waterways and the Song of the Week

Four years after 29 miners were killed in an explosion at a Raleigh County mine, Upper Big Branch miners' family members and friends discuss what it takes to change a culture focused on production to one with an emphasis on safety. Sen. Joe Manchin's Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act unanimously passes its first stop on a long road on Capitol Hill, and Todd Snider performs "Stomp and Holler" on the Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

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5:24 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Freedom Makes Profit in February

As Andrea Lannom of the The Charleston Daily Mail reports, Freedom Industries--the company embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings following January's Elk River chemical spill--made more money in February than they anticipated.
Freedom Industries, the company at the heart of the Elk River chemical leak, made more money in February than it expected. Freedom filed its monthly operating report for February earlier this week. The document shows the company expected to bring in about $432,000 from Jan. 17 to Feb. 28.
Public Health
5:04 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Surveys to Collect Data on Impact of Elk River Spill

Surveys soon to be conducted by local, state, and federal officials will gather data on public health and concerns following the January 9 spill by Freedom Industries into the Elk River.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department will hold phone survey and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) will conduct a door-to-door questionnaire.

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Business
9:08 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Chemical Spill In W. Va. Tests Tolerance For Big Coal

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 10:27 am

Linda Wertheimer talks to Evan Osnos about his New Yorker piece in which he explores how the coal industry has become a political player in the state, and what that could mean for future regulation.

West Virginia Morning
9:19 am
Wed April 2, 2014

WV TAP Says The Water Is 'Safe', Reactions to Blankenship's UBB Film, Marshall Co. Mushrooms, & More

Taking into consideration dermal and inhalation exposures, as well as ingestion, WV TAP researchers offer a screening level for MCHM eight times as stringent as the CDC's--still yet, they say levels of the chemical in the water below the federal agency's screening level is "safe." Mine safety professors have joined Sen. Joe Manchin in saying they were misrepresented by Don Blankenship's film Upper Big Branch - Never Again. A Marshall County high school senior wins a scholarship by creating a business plan to sell mushrooms.

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Health Effects
8:55 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Panel Deems CDC Screening Level for MCHM 'Safe', Establishes Own 8 Times As Strict

Credit Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Independent researchers working together on the taxpayer-funded WV TAP project have already released an expert odor analysis for Crude MCHM, and have delivered the findings of their 10 home testing pilot project. However, the public has repeatedly called for an understanding of potential health effects from the January spill of Crude MCHM by Freedom Industries.

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Chemical Leak
3:58 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Governor Signs Bill to Protect W.Va.'s Water

Gov. Tomblin was surrounded by members of both the House and Senate as he signed SB 373.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On the same day West Virginia American Water workers began changing carbon filters at their Charleston filtration plant, Gov. Tomblin signed a bill designed to prevent future chemical leaks, like the one that affected that company’s customers, from ever happening again.

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Water Concerns
10:19 am
Tue April 1, 2014

WVAW Changing Carbon Filters at Charleston Plant

West Virginia American Water's Charleston filtration plant.
Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

West Virginia American Water is beginning the long process of changing water filters that were in place during the Jan. 9 chemical spill that contaminated drinking water for more than 300,000 people.

Water company spokeswoman Laura Jordan says the process begins Monday and may take eight weeks or longer. She says only two of the water plant's 16 filters can be changed each week while maintaining service.
 
Residents have expressed concern that these filters have not already been changed. Some have demanded they be changed in letters to the company.

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Emergency Preparedness
3:04 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Kanawha Co. Maps Chemical Storage Sites for Quicker Response

Credit wikimedia / Wikimedia

Just days after a chemical contaminated the water supply of three hundred thousand West Virginians, officials in Kanawha County officials started assessing their response to the disaster and found there were things they could do better. One of those things, having a more clear way to locate chemical storage sites quickly during an emergency.

Emergency management officials say that project is in its initial phases, but will never fully be complete.

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12:59 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Is the Water Safe Yet?

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.
Covering the Spill
11:54 am
Mon March 31, 2014

WVU Panel on Elk River Chemical Spill Broadcast As Part of 'West Virginia Talks'

West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Ashton Marra provides insight into coverage of January's Elk River chemical spill as part of WVU School of Journalism's panel discussion on the event.
Credit David Smith / WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism

Last week, West Virginia University's P.I. Reed School of Journalism held a panel on how West Virginia media covered the January 9 chemical spill by Freedom Industries and the subsequent water crisis that affected some 300,000 West Virginians across nine counties.

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11:31 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Letter from West Virginia: Chemical Valley

Evan Osnos of The New Yorker runs through the timeline of January's chemical spill into the Elk River by Freedom Industries, the state's reaction to the situation, and how industry and politics played a part in the decades leading up to the spill as well as in the aftermath.
On the morning of Thursday, January 9, 2014, the people of Charleston, West Virginia, awoke to a strange tang in the air off the Elk River. It smelled like licorice. The occasional odor is part of life in Charleston, the state capital, which lies in an industrial area that takes flinty pride in the nickname Chemical Valley.
Environment
6:59 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Review Of West Virginia Water Finds More Work To Be Done

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

A group of independent researchers has found that the chemical crude MCHM is still present in some West Virginia homes. That's the coal-cleaning chemical that spilled into the Elk River back in January out of a storage tank operated by the company Freedom Industries. The spill contaminated drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people. The research group was formed by West Virginia's governor after public pressure.

Dave Mistich of West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports on the research group's latest findings.

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Waste
6:09 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

MCHM Disposal Ban Case at Hurricane Landfill Dismissed

Credit AP

A judge has dismissed a case that challenged a wastewater permit at a Putnam County landfill after state regulators granted a company's request to end the transport of the wastewater from a Charleston chemical spill.

Kanawha County Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib dismissed the case Friday.
 

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Chemical Leak
3:15 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

WV TAP Says MCHM Lingers in 10 Homes Tested in Pilot Project

Credit Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Taxpayer-funded researchers say the 10 West Virginia homes they tested each contained traces of a chemical that spilled into their water supply in January.
 
In samples taken Feb. 11-18, chemical remnants were generally about 675 times less concentrated than the federal safe drinking level for the chemical in water. The independent WV TAP group discussed results Friday at West Virginia State University.

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