Elk River Chemical Spill

Elk River chemical spill
1:11 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Reporters Discuss How They Covered the Elk River Spill

The Mountainlair is the setting for a panel discussion about media coverage of the Elk River Chemical Spill.

West Virginia Public Radio presents a new program called "West Virginia Talks," an occasional series featuring recordings of panel discussions and lectures from colleges and universities around the state.  Tune in Monday, March 31 at 2:00 p.m. for such a discussion about the Elk River Chemical Spill. 

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Chemical Leak
10:54 am
Fri March 28, 2014

W.Va. American Water Will Change Filters Next Week

Credit West Virginia American Water

West Virginia American Water will begin changing the 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 said the process will begin on Monday and may take eight weeks or longer. She says only two of their 16 filters can be changed each week while maintaining water service.
 

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Federal Relief
2:06 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

W.Va. Delegation Asks Obama for Spill Help

Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia's congressional delegation is urging President Obama to reconsider the denial of extra federal aid after a January chemical spill.
 
The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Feb. 12 denied Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's request for reimbursement for first responders, nonprofits and public agencies that assisted during the spill. Tomblin appealed the decision on March 11.
 

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Chemical Leak
10:01 am
Wed March 26, 2014

WV TAP, Virginia Tech Studies Differ on Spilled Chemical Odor Analysis

Credit Nikthestoned / wikimedia Commons

A Virginia Tech study says a chemical that spilled into 300,000 West Virginians' water supply in January stops smelling at a level 47 times stronger than other researchers found.
 
The group that discovered the lower chemical odor level questioned the Virginia Tech team's methods.
 
The Virginia Tech group said in a news release that it detected the chemical in the air with specialized instruments. It used a gas law to calculate the corresponding odor threshold in water.
 

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Environment
7:39 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Toxic Chemical Dioxane Detected In More Water Supplies

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Earlier this year, a chemical spill in West Virginia forced officials to put a ban on drinking water that affected some 300,000 people. This also highlighted an unsettling truth: While officials test our drinking supply, they're only targeting a few chemicals. Many contaminants go undetected.

Here's NPR's Elizabeth Shogren.

ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: Toxic chemicals can make it into tap water for years without experts knowing it. That's because of a basic fact about how treatment plants test their water.

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Chemical Leak
12:18 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Update: Testing at WVAM Indicates Filtering Process Adds Trace Amounts of MCHM to Water Supply

Credit West Virginia American Water

Updated Tuesday, March 25 at 1:15 p.m.: 

Test results from sampling conducted by the National Guard in and around West Virginia American Water's Elk River plant indicate trace levels of MCHM are being added to the water supply during the filtering process. The results come from 42 samples collected--from various stages of the water treatment process--from Friday, March 21 at 6 p.m. through Saturday, March 22 at  6 a.m.

Results indicate raw water from the Elk River and settled water from post clarifiers (an early stage in the treatment process)--both east and west--are returning non-detectable levels of MCHM. However, results from east and west filters range from non-detectable levels to 0.60 parts per billion (ppb). Results from the finished samples, which have completed all stages of the treatment process, range from non-detectable levels to 0.53 ppb.

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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.   

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West Virginia Morning
10:16 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Media Coverage of Elk River Spill, Appalachian Studies, & Studying Climate with Backyard Ice Rinks

West Virginia University's P.I. Reed School of Journalism holds a panel discussing how local media covered the Elk River chemical spill and water crisis that affected 300,000 West Virginians. The Appalachian Studies Association prepares to kick off their annual conference at Marshall University. And owners of backyard ice rinks provide some context in studying climate change.

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Journalism Panel
1:14 am
Tue March 25, 2014

WVU Panel Discusses New and Old Newsgathering Methods Used During Water Crisis

David Boucher (left) and April Kaull (right) discuss how social media changed the way journalists covered the water spill crisis.
Credit David Smith/WVU PI Reed School of Journalism / West Virginia University

Panelists discussing the media coverage of the recent Elk River water crisis say digital media platforms played an important role in how they covered the story. More than 300 people were in attendance Monday night at West Virginia University to hear insights panelists gleaned from reporting on the crisis.

Some of those insights:

Social media allowed the journalists to interact with their audiences in new ways;

Traditional methods of reporting (phone calls, knocking on doors, filing FOIA requests) were absolutely essential to get the job done;

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New Media
7:42 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Follow Along with WVU Journalism's Discussion of Media Coverage of #wvchemleak

Credit @BenAdducchio via Twitter

Follow along with all of the discussion from WVU Journalism's panel on new media coverage of the Elk River Chemical spill here:

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1:38 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

CDC’s Face in W.Va. Water Crisis Resigns

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been heavily criticized in their response to the January 9 spill by Freedom Industries and the water crisis that followed. Dr. Tanja Popvic, who represented the CDC in West Virginia at a news briefing in February, has resigned from her post as director of the federal agency's National Center for Environmental Health. Ken Ward of The Charleston Gazette breaks down Popvic's and the CDC's presence here post-spill and the response to her resignation.
  • Source: Wvgazette
  • | Via: The Charleston Gazette
March 24, 2014 by Ken Ward Jr. Gazette photo by Lawrence Pierce Readers who followed the continuing water crisis in West Virginia may remember the face of the federal official standing at Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's podium in the photo above.
Chemical Leak
5:12 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

'Recovery' Phase After Spill Includes Collecting Medical Records

People lined up a a water distribution site in Institute just after the chemical spill into the Elk River.
Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

State health officials are seeking patient data from physicians who might have treated people affected by the Jan. 9 chemical spill.

The Charleston spill contaminated 300,000 people's tap water in nine counties.

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11:59 am
Thu March 20, 2014

West Virginia American Water Chief Defends Water Firm's MCHM Actions

In this report form Ken Ward of The Charleston Gazette, West Virginia American Water president Jeff McIntyre defends his company's actions following the Jan. 9 spill into the Elk River by Freedom Industries. The water company has yet to change filters at their water treatment plant, although they say work begins on that project April 1 to address public concerns.
  • Source: Wvgazette
  • | Via: The Charleston Gazette
WVAW chief defends water firm's MCHM actions CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Knowing what chemicals Freedom Industries stored just upstream from West Virginia American Water's intake wouldn't have helped the water company better plan its response to the Elk River leak, the company's president said Tuesday. Jeff McIntyre said having more information about Crude MCHM before the Jan.
10:51 am
Thu March 20, 2014

More Chemical Data Released

On Wednesday, the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management released Freedom Industries Tier II report filed in February 2013. The report details the components of a substance known as "Shurflott 944", which might have been stored in the tank that leaked on January 9.
More chemical data released Freedom Industries hit a deadline Saturday to start scrapping its chemical storage headquarters, though it still appears intact. Local residents say they will be glad to see the 'tank farm' gone. CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- New information released by the state Wednesday raises more questions about what exactly contaminated the tap water of 300,000 West Virginia residents.
West Virginia Morning
10:11 am
Wed March 19, 2014

MCHM Odors Linger, High-Dollar Requests for School Building Authority, & Beckley's Temple Beth El

Independent researchers involved in testing, odor analysis, and health effects studies on Crude MCHM answered questions Tuesday about their work and what that means going forward. The School Building Authority faces tough choices in doling out money for new schools, as counties have requested over $100 million in funds although the authority has only $45 million to give. A report on Beckley's Temple Beth El begins a five-part radio series on the Jewish experience in West Virginia.

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Chemical Leak
10:49 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Experts Say Lingering Odor Means Crude MCHM Remains in Water System

Dr. Michael McGuire (left) is conducting odor analysis panels on Crude MCHM. Dr. Craig Adams compiled a literature review of toxicological studies available on the chemical.

Researchers involved in a taxpayer-funded, independent water testing project in response to the January 9 spill by Freedom Industries began releasing findings earlier this week. The project, known as WV TAP, is currently attempting to determine the odor threshold for the chemical in question—crude MCHM. They are also investigating the safety factors applied by the CDC in determining how much chemical can be in water and still be called safe to drink.

Dr. Michael McGuire is conducting odor analysis panels to determine at what levels Crude MCHM can be smelled in the water. Results released Monday from an expert panel conducted by McGuire put that number at 0.15 parts per billion (ppb).

Researchers took time Tuesday to answer questions about the first round of studies that have been released.

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Bankruptcy
2:52 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Freedom Industries Could Have $3 Million Left by June

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The company that spilled chemicals into 300,000 West Virginians' water supply could have about $3 million left this summer before paying hundreds of creditors.
 
Freedom Industries Chief Restructuring Officer Mark Welch estimated in bankruptcy court Tuesday that $2.5 million to $3 million would remain in mid-June. He said the 51-employee company will cease business operations by the week's end.
 

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Chemical Leak
2:15 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Expert Nose Has Ability to Detect MCHM 'Far Greater' Than Current Testing Methods

Researchers involved in the independent, taxpayer-funded testing project known as WV TAP say results from a single expert panel show that Crude MCHM can be detected by an expert human nose when analytical methods used in testing the water indicate non-detect levels.

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Chemical Leak
11:55 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Freedom Industries President Wants to Get Paid After Bankruptcy Filing

Credit WOWK

The president of the company that spilled chemicals into 300,000 West Virginians' water supply wants to get paid for work during bankruptcy proceedings.
 
In court documents Saturday, Freedom Industries President Gary Southern requested an order to collect paychecks for work following the company's Jan. 17 bankruptcy filing.
 

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Chemical Leak
4:55 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

State Deadline Reached, Freedom Tanks Still on Site

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A tank cluster that leaked chemicals into 300,000 West Virginians' drinking water shows few signs that it's on the brink of destruction.
 
Freedom Industries hit a state deadline Saturday to start scrapping its chemical storage headquarters. So far, crews have carved a small patch out of one tank to remove chemical remnants.

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