Dave Mistich Published

Surveys to Collect Data on Impact of Elk River Spill


Surveys soon to be conducted by local, state, and federal officials will gather data on public health and concerns following the January 9 spill by Freedom Industries into the Elk River.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department will hold phone survey and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) will conduct a door-to-door questionnaire.

Phone Survey on Socio-Psychological and Economic Impact

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (KCHD) is working with their University partners to conduct a scientific study related to the West Virginia chemical spill. Volunteers are asked to meet at the KCHD offices at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6.

  • The survey aims to learn the socio-psychological and economic impact of the spill
  • 6,000 random county phone numbers for its survey over the next week
  • Calls collecting information for the survey are expected to last 20-25 minutes

Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response

Working together, the DHHR and CDC will conduct a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response  (CASPER) in the nine counties affected. The survey, conducted through a door-to-door questionnaire, will take place Tuesday through Thursday, April 8-10, 2014.

  • Randomly selected households will be be asked to provide information about public health concerns during the spill.
  • The CDC and the WVU School of Public Health will make up about half of the 30 volunteers involved in the project.
  • Surveyors will carry official credentials to identify themselves as public health staff.

“The results of the CASPER will help state and local officials improve response to future emergencies, including effective communication with the public,” Commissioner for Public Health Dr. Letitia Tierney said in a Thursday news release. 
Tierney said full participation is encouraged and all responses to survey questions are voluntary and will be kept confidential under state law