Elk River Chemical Spill

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department plans the release of the results of their survey that attempts to gauge the impact of the Elk River chemical spill. Sylvia Mathew Burwell faces her first Senate confirmation hearing on her way to become the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Former West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Anna Sale launches a new podcast that attempts to tackle the issues we all deal with but rarely discuss. Also, Solas performs "Am I Born to Die" on thjis Mountain Stage song of the week.

Freedom Industries
AP

A bankruptcy judge is concerned that a company responsible for a West Virginia chemical spill wants to sell remaining property to a company tied to former executives.

Freedom Industries has filed a motion to sell chemicals and property at a leased secondary facility, Poca Blending in Nitro, to Lexycon LLC.

Lexycon President Kevin Skiles and independent consultant Dennis Farrell are former Freedom executives. Lexycon was formed in Florida in March.

Dr. Rahul Gupta and Del. Cindy Frich appeared on Wednesday, May 7's episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Based simply on the titles of the segments from Wednesday's show, you can probably guess in which one they appear.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The now-bankrupt company at the center of West Virginia's chemical spill wants to sell what's left at its other site to a company tied to former executives.

Freedom Industries filed court motions Monday seeking permission to sell chemicals and property in Nitro at Poca Blending, which Freedom leases. Lexycon LLC would be the buyer.      

Lexycon President Kevin Skiles and independent consultant Dennis Farrell are former Freedom executives. The company was formed in Florida in March.

Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has announced an “After Action Review” of the state’s  response to the January 9 Elk River chemical spill. 

The Review hopes to highlight the many ways in which state agencies, county and local emergency management offices, volunteer and charity organizations, the West Virginia National Guard, and other entities responded to the nine-county State of Emergency.

Tomblin’s office says the review will also address ways the state can improve its emergency response systems. 

Freedom Industries
AP

A Putnam County judge has ordered a Hurricane landfill where wastewater from a Charleston chemical spill was dumped to produce documents sought by the city of Hurricane in its investigation.

Circuit Judge Phillip Stowers ruled Friday that Hurricane has a right to protect its citizens under the state home-rule law. The Charleston Gazette reports Stowers still must decide how much power the city has in the investigation it launched last month into the Disposal Services landfill owned by Waste Management.

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.

David Gutman of The Charleston Gazette reports that executives of soon-to-be-bankrupt Freedom Industries haven't abandoned the chemical industry. In fact, they've created a new company in Lexycon, LLC, which was founded in Florida in March and registered with the West Virginia Secretary of State's office about a month ago.

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.

    

Freedom Industries
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.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  The company at the center of West Virginia's chemical spill says costs of $1.9 million accumulated since the January leak "appear to be large," but are justified. Freedom Industries Chief Restructuring Officer Mark Welch wrote in bankruptcy filings that despite the price tag, the court should let Freedom make the payments through March 31 for contractors. The costs include environmental cleanup, legal fees, consulting and more.

water faucet
wikimedia

A study of hospital records in the nine counties affected by the Elk River Chemical Spill show that 369 people sought treatment at emergency rooms for certain symptoms, but health officials are reluctant to point to MCHM as the cause of the illnesses.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Loretta Haddy said the most common symptoms where nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash and itching, headache, sore throat and cough.

Freedom Industries
AP

With little known about the chemical compound MCHM, public health was—and remains—the focus of January’s spill of MCHM by Freedom Industries into the Elk River. Dr. Rahul Gupta of the Kanawha Charleston Health Department and other public health officials gathered Tuesday for an online presentation hosted by the National Association of County and City Health Officials to detail past and on-going efforts.

Gupta began his portion of the webinar to outline the timeline of the spill before moving on to data collected on the event. He said a recent survey shows that, while some residents were using the water to do laundry or for other purposes, many of those affected weren’t drinking the water at the beginning of March.

Elk River Chemical spill
wikimedia / Wikimedia

When federal officials decided what chemical levels West Virginians could safely consume in water tainted by the January 9 spill at Freedom Industries, their standard assumed people would be exposed for two weeks, not 100-plus days.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia is expanding its tourism funding in hopes of offsetting negative publicity from the January chemical spill in the Elk River that spurred a water-use ban for days.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Ashton Marra and The New Yorker's Evan Osnos spoke with Judy Woodruff of the PBS NewsHour about January's Elk River chemical spill. Both Marra and Osnos field questions about whether or not the spill has changed the paradigm in relation to the politics of industry in the state and whether or not recently passed legislation will prevent a similar event in the future.

A West Virginia homeland security official thinks responders for a Jan. 9 chemical spill into the water supply could receive $2 million in federal help.
 
Homeland security official Greg Myers says the estimate covers state and local agencies, and select nonprofits, like volunteer fire departments. He says the total could grow.
 

Foo Conner / Flickr

West Virginia American Water said new tests show no signs of MCHM from water filtered through two newly replaced carbon filters.

The company began changing out the 16 activated carbon filters in the Charleston plant on April 1.

In a release this Monday, WVAM said 16 water samples taken throughout the filtration process at that location returned non-detect levels of MCHM.

The results came from Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, Inc. in Lancaster, Pa., which WVAM said is testing the water at the 0.38 parts per billion level.

@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.

Freedom Industries
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.
 

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