Health & Science

According to the USDA, 30 to 40 percent of the food produced in America goes uneaten. Barbara Hartman is a registered dietician and works as the chief of nutrition and food service at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Her mission? To reduce food waste. Mona Iskander of PBS NewsHour reports on how new businesses have emerged to help kitchens reduce food waste while turning a profit.

C. W. Sigman

  West Virginia's governor has ordered the company at the center of a chemical spill that tainted the water supply for the state capital to begin the process of removing all above-ground storage tanks from the Charleston operation.

A statement released Saturday by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office says Freedom Industries must start the dismantling process by March 15.

The Jan. 9 spill at Freedom Industries contaminated the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians.

The order to dismantle and properly dispose of the tanks also includes associated piping and machinery. The facility currently has 17 tanks.

Foo Conner / Flickr

  Some customers of West Virginia American Water are questioning why their bills went up even though they didn't use their tap water for several days after a chemical spill.

Harry Machado of Winfield tells The Charleston Gazette that his latest bill was about 40 percent more than the previous one.

Pennsylvania is comparing regulations for above ground storage tanks after the spill in West Virginia.

While some residents in a Kentucky community are using unique strategies to oppose a strip mine, others are looking forward to the mine opening.

One school in West Virginia is working to meet the needs of all deaf and blind students.

Ashton Marra

The Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources held its third hearing related to the Kanawha Valley chemical leak Friday, receiving testimony for the first time from those conducting the on-site investigation.

Chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board Rafael Moure-Eraso explained his team of four investigators is in the preliminary phases in an investigation that could take up to a year to complete.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

An environmental official says the company in the West Virginia water crisis immediately knew a second chemical leaked from its plant into the river, telling its workers in an email.
 
  

However, Freedom Industries did not let state government officials know about the second chemical, which was discovered in later testing. State environmental department official Mike Dorsey says most company employees also did not skim far enough to see the information.
 

Foo Conner / Flickr

The head of the Utility Workers Union of America is raising concerns that West Virginia American Water Co.'s leaky pipes may have allowed contaminated water from the Elk River chemical spill to seep into the ground.
 
     D. Michael Langford wrote to the state Public Service Commission on Thursday to point out West Virginia American's high rate of "unaccounted for water."
 

appalshop.org

With the January 9 chemical leak from Freedom Industries leading to the water supply being compromised for 300,000 residents who rely on West Virginia American Water, the ripple effects are sure to impact our state, our region, and possibly even the entire nation on environmental, political, and cultural levels. Yet, concerns over the safety of the environment and health of the local population are nothing new around the Kanawha Valley.

Ashton Marra

National Guard teams from West Virginia and neighboring states are carrying out a massive water testing campaign following the chemical spill that polluted the water supply for 300,000 people.
 
     Nearly 40 civil support team members from the Virginia and West Virginia National Guard were taking samples this week to test for contaminants in water supplied by West Virginia American Water.
 

Former coal miner Joe Stanley says he lost his job after a conflict with management, when he, as union president, demanded to know more about the chemicals that were being used in the mine. "I watched the coal industry poison our water for years. Now they're telling us not to drink the water? We've been dumping this stuff into unlined ponds and into old mines for years," he says. One of those chemicals, Stanley says, was MCHM.

Foo Conner / Flickr

The Public Service Commission's Consumer Advocate Division wants the agency to continue requiring West Virginia American Water to submit quarterly reports on service quality.
 
A 2011 order issued by the PSC requires the company to submit the reports through the fourth quarter of 2013. The Consumer Advocate Division asked the PSC on Wednesday to continue the requirement until further notice.
 

Sen. Jay Rockefeller
Politico

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller has written to West Virginia American Water for a second time since the chemical leak at Freedom Industries January 9.

In a letter sent this morning he asked West Virginia American Water President Jeff McIntyre to respond by Friday, Jan. 24.

Rockefeller states he’s deeply concerned that after the “do not use” ban was lifted for people living in Buffalo, Fraziers Bottom and Pliny, further tests revealed levels of Crude MCHM higher than 1ppm.

Perry Bennett / Flickr

Hundreds braved bad weather to gather at the state’s capitol to rally in response to the Elk River chemical spill. The solidarity stretched across the state, the country and perhaps around the world with other small group and private vigils. Pictures from various events flowed through social media channels.

*Special thanks to Steve Schmidt who collected sound for that segment from the Capitol last night.

As Ken Ward of The Charleston Gazette reports, officials with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board say a product known as "PPH" was included in the the January 9 spill.

Leigh Hall

A  truckload of water was delivered to a school in Wyoming County Monday morning. The school and several communities served by Alpoca Water Works have been without usable water for almost five months.

Last week, we brought you the story about Herndon Consolidated and the surrounding communities.

Graphic Detailing the Elk River zone of critical concern, from downstream strategies new report.
Downstream Strategies

Downstream Strategies President Evan Hansen has worked on a report called "The Freedom Industries Spill: Lessons Learned and Needed Reforms." Hansen says new regulations on storage facilities, like the one involved in the Elk River spill, are only a first step towards prevention.

Hansen also suggests:

The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training confirms that a miner died at Mettiki Coal’s Mountain View Mine in Tucker County.

In an email, the state office said 20-year-old Daniel Lambka of Kitzmiller, Maryland, "suffered crushing injuries". 

The statement said the accident happened around 9:10 p.m., Thursday night.

Mr. Lambka had 2 ½ years of mining experience 4 ½ months of which were acquired at this mine. His position was that of general laborer.

Chad Matlick / Dave Mistich / Information provided by the CDC

 

It's now been a week since the chemical spill at Freedom Industries in Charleston leaked roughly 7,500 gallons of crude MCHM into the Elk River and tainted the water supply of some 300,000 residents of the Kanawha Valley and surrounding areas. Many residents remain suspicious of the water quality after the State Bureau for Public Health--in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention--advised pregnant women Wednesday night not to drink water until the chemical is untraceable in West Virginia American Water's system.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The company whose spill contaminated the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians has been cited for violations at a second facility where it's storing chemicals.

Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Tom Aluise says inspectors found five violations Monday at a Nitro site, known as Poca Blending, LLC, where Freedom Industries moved its coal-cleaning chemicals after Thursday's spill.

Jessica Lilly

While hundreds of thousands of West Virginians are going on five days without water, a school in Wyoming County has not had usable water since September.

The flushing process is underway but without an upgraded system, Herndon Consolidated and those on the Alpoca Water Works lines will have to wait even longer for usable tap water.  

"It’s awful because I mean the water is brown and no one wants to wash their hands in brown water," fifth grader Martina Sizemore said.

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