water

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House voted on a bill Wednesday that aligns West Virginia's standards for some discharges into the state’s waters with federal limits. Opponents say the bill could put West Virginia’s drinking water supply at risk, but supporters maintain it has the potential to attract new industry to the state.

Jessica Lilly

The coal industry has done a lot for central Appalachia. It’s created jobs, and it’s helped many families afford college. Coal has also created a  very strong sense of pride. But as jobs in the coal industry have declined, so have the opportunities in Central  Appalachia. On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we explore one of the legacies of of the industry: crumbling water infrastructure.

Dave Foster / West Virginia Rural Water Association

It’s been happening for years - water systems are slowly coming to a breaking point. The next episode of Inside Appalachia explores one legacy of the coal mining industry - crumbling water infrastructure.

Elk River
Malepheasant / wikimedia Commons

A proposed settlement was filed Wednesday in the state investigation of West Virginia American Water's role in a chemical spill and resulting water crisis in the Charleston area three years ago.

Thousands of gallons of a coal-cleaning agent leaked from a Freedom Industries storage tank into the Elk River in January 2014, leaving 300,000 people without water for nine days.

gavel
wikimedia / Wikimedia

A former water testing lab employee has been sentenced to two years in prison for participating in a false sampling scheme for southern West Virginia coal mines.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that U.S. District Judge Irene Berger sentenced John Brewer on Wednesday to the maximum penalty allowed. Brewer pleaded guilty in September to one count of falsifying water sample reports under the Clean Water Act.

The Obama administration on Monday set final rules designed to reduce the environmental impact of coal mining on the nation's streams, a long-anticipated move that met quick resistance from Republicans who vowed to overturn it under President-elect Donald Trump.

Jason Meredith / Flickr

Chances are, one of the first things you do in the morning is turn on the faucet. For more than three million people in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia, that means getting tap water that comes from the Ohio River. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio is also one of the most polluted rivers in the country. 

Nikthestoned / wikimedia Commons

Since July 1, the state Bureau for Public Health has been holding public hearings across West Virginia to discuss proposed Source Water Protection Plans.

The plans are the result of legislation approved after a 2014 chemical spill in Charleston left hundreds of thousands of people without usable drinking water for days.

water faucet
wikimedia

West Virginia regulators are sticking with their proposal to change the way water-quality standards are calculated.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that a document made public Friday insists the decision "does not automatically" translate into an increase in the amount of cancer-causing chemicals allowed to be discharged into state rivers and streams.

Elk River Chemical spill
wikimedia / Wikimedia

Federal government scientists have released a final update of their study of the January 2014 chemical spill that temporarily fouled the drinking water supplies of 300,000 Charleston-area residents, reporting no significant new findings.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Source water protection plans are mandates water utilities are required to follow to keep drinking water safe. However, before 2014, following these plans in West Virginia was voluntary. Since the January 2014 Elk River chemical spill, though, legislation was put in place requiring about 125 water systems in the state to have these plans. The law also made what was already on the books much stronger.

Friday, July 1 is the deadline for water and sewer utilities to submit their new plans to the state Bureau for Public Health. Liz McCormick has been following this story and brings us a look into how two utilities – large and small – have been dealing with the new regulatory landscape.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from survivors of the flooding that devastated southeastern West Virginia.

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency is providing aid, Kara Lofton reports most of the rescues, cleanup, and support so far has been provided by the local communities.

Nikthestoned / wikimedia Commons

The City of Parkersburg will provide water to some parts of Vienna in response to high levels of a carcinogenic chemical in the town’s drinking water.

The Parkersburg Utility Board’s Assistant Manager Eric Bumgardner says the lower-third of Vienna, also known as the town’s commercial district, had its water switched over to Parkersburg’s water supply Wednesday.

This will remain in effect until a permanent fix is in place.

water faucet
wikimedia

A company has agreed to pay for the installation of carbon filters in Vienna's water treatment plant.

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp says the installation paid for by Wilmington, Delaware-based Chemours Co. will begin immediately.

Source Water Protection Plans, Water, Shepherdstown, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, WVDEP
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After a chemical spill in the Kanawha Valley left more than 300,000 people with contaminated drinking water for days, state lawmakers passed legislation in an effort to prevent a similar crisis. One part of that legislation requires most water utilities in the state to draft source water protection plans – with public input. West Virginia Public Broadcasting attended a public forum in Shepherdstown Thursday night aimed at educating the community about the plans.

Jessica Lilly

A jury has ruled in favor of a coal company in Wyoming County Circuit Court. The verdict came in Thursday afternoon after only a few hours of deliberations.

WCHS-TV

A judge says he wants more information before he'll approve a class-action settlement stemming from a 2014 chemical spill in West Virginia that contaminated drinking water supplies.

The case involves Kanawha Valley residents and businesses and two former top officials from Freedom Industries.

Recently, The Center for Investigative Reporting's 'Reveal' released an episode called 'Do Not Drink: The Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan.' The producers of the show then wondered about water crises elsewhere and how communities reacted. The January 2014 Elk River chemical spill came to mind and they asked me to contribute some insight into the event and what's happened since.

Dollar Photo Club

Representatives from 37 citizen groups fighting for “water justice” met Tuesday at the Capitol to release a letter of solidarity with Flint, Michigan.

The letter, dated February 9th, parallels the 2014 West Virginia Water Crisis with the water crisis currently unfolding in Flint.

In light of the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, this week on Inside Appalachia we remember the West Virginia water crisis from 2014. We’ll also hear from people in the coalfields who don’t have access to clean water, day in and day out. And we’ll honor the traditional “Appalachian” way of coming together to lean on each other.

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