West Virginia American Water

Government
10:56 am
Mon December 1, 2014

W.Va. Regulators Postpone Chemical Spill Hearings

West Virginia utility regulators are again postponing hearings for the water company affected in a January chemical spill.

In an order last month, the state Public Service Commission canceled hearings scheduled Feb. 10-12 for West Virginia American Water.

The commission is probing the water company's response to a chemical spill that tainted its water supply. The Freedom Industries leak spurred a tap-water ban for 300,000 people for days.

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Environment
12:46 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

DEP: Yellow Liquid On Elk River A Result of A Broken Sewer Line, Water Intake Restored

The grey area highlighted is the approximate location where the yellow substance was spotted.

Updated on Friday, November, 14 at 4:38 p.m.

West Virginia American Water is returning service to its Kanawha Valley water treatment plant following a sewer line break Thursday on the Elk River above the plant intake. A yellow substance was reported shortly after noon and the company shut down the plant following notification from Metro 911. 

The company says they've consulted with the West Virginia West Virginia Bureau for Public Health about the decision to return service and they continue to work with the state Department of Environmental Protection and first responders. 

West Virginia American Water says the treatment process will be augmented with additional powdered activated carbon.

According to a news release, the company says plant operators have increased  the frequency of testing for: 

  •  total coliform (an indicator of bacteria),
  • pH, conductivity
  • and are continuously monitoring for free chlorine (disinfection).  

The company says they were notified that approximately three gallons of water-based road paint in the sewer system likely caused the yellow color at the site of the sewer line break. The Bureau for Public Health and water quality experts reviewed a MSDS sheet of the paint provided by the City of Charleston and determined it did not pose any threats.

Updated on Friday, November, 14 at 2:46 p.m.

West Virginia American Water spokeswoman Laura Jordan said the shut down their Elk River intake around noon after being notified about the situation.  She says company officials are working with the DEP, first responders and other agencies.

Ongoing testing at the treatment plant shows no change in water quality, according to West Virginia American Water.  

Original Post from Friday, November, 14 at 12:46 p.m.

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater said  that, after consultation with Charleston City officials, it was determined the yellow sheen came from a broken sewer line and the spill "has been contained."

She says West Virginia American  has been notified.

Metro 911 called the report in to the DEP spill line around noon today. A distpatcher there says West Virginia American Water has shut down their Elk River intake.

According to the Charleston Gazette, "the liquid, in a geyser a few feet tall, was on the west side of the river." 

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Chemical Spill
10:24 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Hearing for Elk River Chemical Spill Lawsuit Set for Sept. 2015

  A lawsuit against a water company, chemical producer, airport and others over a January chemical spill won't get a hearing for another year.

The consolidated lawsuit that targets West Virginia American Water, Eastman Chemical, Yeager Airport and others has a hearing for a motion on class certification on Sept. 25, 2015.

Judge John Copenhaver filed the schedule earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

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Bankruptcy
12:43 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Utility Opposes $2.9 Million Deal in Freedom Industries Bankruptcy Case

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

  A utility is opposing a $2.9 million bankruptcy settlement that would fund projects to benefit 300,000 people whose water was contaminated in January.

West Virginia American Water says Freedom Industries shouldn't use money from its insurance proceeds to pay for the projects. The company filed its opposition last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charleston.

Freedom's spill in January spurred a tap-water ban for days. The company filed for bankruptcy eight days later.

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Investigation
9:36 am
Thu August 28, 2014

W.Va. PSC Chair Steps Down from Chemical Spill Probe

  The state Public Service Commission's chairman has removed himself from an investigation into a water company's response to a January chemical spill.

The Charleston Gazette reports PSC Chairman Mike Albert cited his previous work as an attorney representing West Virginia American Water in stepping down from the spill investigation.

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Investigation
6:14 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

PSC: Water Company Planning Info Needed in W.Va. Spill Probe

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

Regulators ordered a water company under investigation for its chemical spill response to produce emergency plans and information potentially protected by anti-terrorism laws.

The state Public Service Commission ordered West Virginia American Water on Friday to produce many documents it opposed releasing.

The PSC says some information potentially shielded by state and federal laws can be considered. It will be confidential from the public.

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Investigation
12:06 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

PSC Wants Shielded Info in West Virginia American Water Probe

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

West Virginia regulators say they may consider information potentially protected by federal laws in their investigation into January’s chemical spill. The investigation focuses on West Virginia American Water’s response to the incident.

 At Monday's state Public Service Commission meeting, Chairman Michael Albert said documents and emergency plans protected by anti-terrorism laws could be deemed essential and considered.

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Chemical Leak
1:41 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Investigations into January Chemical Spill Continue

Now disassembled Freedom Industries tank farm that leaked into the Elk River on January 9, 2014.
Credit AP

The West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) is holding a discovery conference on Monday, August 18th in its ongoing investigation of West Virginia American Water's response to the January 9th chemical spill.

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Chemical Spill
6:57 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Utility: Chemical Spill Cost $11 Million in Profits

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

A West Virginia water supplier has taken an $11 million hit to address a January chemical spill that tainted 300,000 people's tap water.

Quarterly filings show that the spill cost American Water $10.9 million in income. The company says the second quarter impact was $5 million.

State affiliate West Virginia American Water is seeking three bankruptcy claims from Freedom Industries, the company that spilled chemicals. One is a $1.1 million request to cover the filters the water company replaced.

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Water Safety
9:32 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Secondary Intake Proposal Calls for Mountaintop Lake in Charleston

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

  Two men have submitted a proposal calling for a mountaintop lake in Charleston that would serve as a backup drinking water source.

The proposal by Fred Stottlemyer and Joe Mullins seeks construction of an earthen dam to create an 800 million-gallon lake at Coonskin Park.

Stottlemyer is former public service district general manager. Mullins was an urban planner in the governor's office in the 1960s.

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Around the Nation
4:27 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Months From Water Crisis, Leaking W.Va. Tanks Are Demolished

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 8:40 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

At the beginning of the year, residents of Charleston, West Virginia smelled a licorice odor in their water. It turned out a chemical used in coal production had leaked out of a nearby storage tank, contaminating the water supply for 300,000 people. This week, tanks at the center of this crisis are being demolished. But as Dave Mistich of West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports, that doesn't necessarily bring closure.

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West Virginia Morning
8:12 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Testimony Entered in PSC Investigation, W.Va. Working to Limit Exotic Pets, and Humans of Fairmont

West Virginia American Water entered written testimony last week in the Public Service Commission's investigation into the January chemical leak in Charleston. The PSC wanted more information about how the company responded to the crisis, including justification for not shutting of their source water intake.

State officials are working on a list of animals they feel are too dangerous to own as pets and a North Central West Virginia man's Facebook project is picking up steam as he tries to introduce you to the 'Humans of Fairmont.'

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Investigation
6:38 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Five Things From West Virginia American Water's Testimony to the PSC Regarding the Elk River Spill

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

In May, the Public Service Commission of West Virginia opened a general investigation into West Virginia American Water’s response to January chemical spill at Freedom Industries. The investigation followed heavy scrutiny from the public over the water company not shutting down their intake along the Elk River downstream of the spill.

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Investigation
4:47 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Water Company Provides Testimony to PSC Regarding Elk River Spill Response

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

West Virginia American Water has met Wednesday's deadline to provide testimony to the Public Service Commission regarding an investigation into the water company’s response to the January chemical spill into the Elk River.  

In May, the PSC opened a general investigation into the incident.

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West Virginia Morning
8:16 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Exploring New Options for Water Sources, Free Lunches for Kids, Matewan Improvements & New SBA Chief

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection heard the thoughts and opinions of members of the public on lifting an exemption that prevents the Kanawha River from being used a source for public drinking water. The discussion comes after a chemical leak into the Elk River left 300,000 West Virginians without usable drinking water for up to 10 days.

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Environment
10:51 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Updated: WV DEP Reports Second Overflow at Freedom, Violations Issued for Both Incidents

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated on Friday, June 13 at 11:12 p.m.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says Freedom Industries failed for a second straight day to prevent a stormwater collection trench overflow at the site along the Elk River. The incident follows a similar overflow of stormwater discovered Thursday.

The DEP says Friday’s discharge coincided with a heavy downpour of rain at around 5 p.m. and lasted nearly an hour before being brought under control through increased pumping.

“To have this happen twice in two days is outrageous and unacceptable," said DEP Secretary Randy Huffman in a news release issued Friday night.

Notices of Violation are being issued for Friday’s discharge as well. They will include a mandate that Freedom respond by noon Saturday with an outline of how the system will be redesigned to prevent future overflows.

"Freedom and its environmental consultant should have a system in place to handle heavy rainfall. If a better system is not implemented immediately, the DEP will take action to bring in a more responsible contractor to handle it,” said Huffman.

Two notices of violation were issued for Thursday’s incident. One for allowing a discharge from an unpermitted outlet and another for failure to comply with the terms and conditions of an order to implement an approved sump management plan.

West Virginia American Water, which has a drinking water intake a mile and a half downstream, has been notified and will be collecting samples of raw water coming into the plant intake as well as treated water. Initial results are expected late Friday night.

Testing of raw and treated water samples after Thursday's discharge came back at non-detectable levels.

Updated on Friday, June 13 at 4:50 p.m.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued two Notices of Violation Friday to Freedom Industries following the overflow of a stormwater collection trench meant to keep rainwater that has come into contact with potentially contaminated soil from entering the Elk River.

According to a news release issued Friday afternoon, one of the violations is for allowing a discharge from an unpermitted outlet. The second is for failure to comply with the terms and conditions of a prior order to implement an approved sump management plan.

Updated on Friday, June 13 at 11:40 a.m.

  The DEP says in a news release that results from a second set of test samples on water analyzed following an overflow of stormwater at the Freedom Industries spill site into the Elk River have come back showing non-detectable levels of MCHM. These results follow earlier test results released by West Virginia American Water that also showed non-detectable levels of the material. The news release says the latest results, which came from Research Environmental & Industrial Consultants Inc., also known as REIC Labs, were for four samples of raw water and four samples of treated water from West Virginia American Company’s Charleston plant, the intake for which is about a mile and a half downstream of the spill site.  The DEP says the samples were delivered to the Beaver lab last night and results came this morning. The testing was unable to detect MCHM at 2 parts per billion. 

Updated on Friday, June 13 at 9:40 a.m.

In a news release, West Virginia American Water says overnight test results continue to show no detection of MCHM in water at the Kanawha Valley Water Treatment Plant. A total of six samples of raw (river) and treated water taken at the plant at different times before 10 p.m. were tested for MCHM overnight. All results show no detection.  

Updated on Friday, June 13 at 1:17 a.m.

West Virginia American Water says in a news release that initial tests of raw (river) and treated water at their facility show no traces of MCHM.

The water company announced Thursday they had just finished changing the last of carbon filters at the treatment plant after beginning the process on April 1. The filters were changed after testing by an independent research group known as WV TAP indicated the filters were leaching MCHM into the water supply.

The water company says additional test results will come overnight. They say staff members are continuing to monitor the situation and are working closely with the Bureau for Public Health and the DEP.

Original Post from Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 10:51 p.m.

According to a news release, a DEP inspector noticed water overflowing from a containment trench at the site of the Freedom Industries cleanup. The news release says a pump in place to handle overflow to a storage tank stopped working, and the inspector restarted the pump, which stopped the overflow.

The DEP says it isn’t yet clear if the water entering the river contained any amount of crude MCHM — the material spilled at the site back on January 9. Samples of the water are being collected from the trench. Additional samples are also being collected downstream at West Virginia American Water Company’s intake, as well as treated water. The DEP says those samples will be tested at multiple labs, with results expected by Friday morning.

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Chemical Spill
5:56 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

West Virginia American Water: Filter Replacement Complete, No Trace of MCHM

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

West Virginia American Water has replaced its filters and no longer detects chemicals that spilled into its water distribution system in January.

A news release Thursday says the utility has only used new filters since May 23, when it removed the last of 16 filters tainted in the spill.

Results returned Thursday showed no chemical traces in water heading to people's homes and businesses.

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Investigation
3:48 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

West Virginia Regulators to Investigate Water Company's Post-Spill Actions

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

  The state Public Service Commission has ordered an investigation into West Virginia American Water's response to the Jan. 9 chemical spill in Charleston.

The PSC said Wednesday the focus of its investigation will be on whether the company's reaction to the spill and presence of the coal-cleaning agent MCHM was "unreasonable or inadequate."

Among other things, the PSC has ordered the company to provide an account of actions it took starting when it became aware of the Jan. 9 spill at the Freedom Industries plant along the Elk River.

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Chemical Leak
4:17 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

WVAM Says Halfway through Carbon Filter Replacement

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

The process to change out 16 activated carbon filters is now half complete at West Virginia American Water’s Charleston filtration plant. That change comes after the January 9th chemical spill into the Elk River, the source of intake for the plant.

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Chemical Leak
4:35 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

WVAM Says MCHM Not Detected After Carbon Filters Changed

Credit 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.

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