West Virginia chemical spill shuts down capital city, water supplies

Sponsored by


Jan. 10, 2013 -- On Thursday, Jan. 9, a significant chemical spill occurred along the Elk River in Charleston, W.Va., shutting down the majority of the city and affecting about 30,000 people.

The discharge originated at Freedom Industries, a provider of specialty chemicals for the mining, steel and cement sectors, where a 48,000-gallon tank at the site leaked 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM), a chemical used to clean mining equipment. Authorities believe that as much as 5,000 gallons of the chemical was released into the environment.

According to a release from West Virginia American Water Company, the contamination has affected the entire Kanawha Valley water system, including Kanawha, Boone and parts of Putnam counties. Jeff McIntyre, president of the organization, noted in a statement that American Water doesn't know if the water is safe to use but is continuing to conduct tests of its quality.

The incident prompted Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to issue a state of emergency for nine counties and President Barack Obama to declare an emergency on Friday, Jan. 10.

Those 30,000 residents affected by the contamination were told on Friday not to consume or use the water until authorities can conclude when it is safe. Consequently, local stores and vendors distributed clean bottled water to them but are quickly running out of supplies.

West Virginia American Water stated in a release that it is not shutting off water to any customers as a result of the "do not use" order currently in place in the Kanawha Valley system. The company is receiving widespread customer reports of false automated calls claiming that West Virginia American Water is shutting off water and advising customers to fill their bathtubs, etc.

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

Louisiana added to EPA assessment of nation's coastal waters

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has received $485,000 from the EPA to test water quality along the state's Gulf Coast. The sampling results will contribute to EPA's National Coastal Conditions Assessment.

USDA announces up to $99M in funding for Sandy recovery in three states

The USDA will provide up to $99 million in conservation funding to assist Hurricane Sandy victims in the states of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. The funding will be used to enroll 671 acres of hurricane-damaged property into permanent floodplain easements and more.

APWA appoints president, names new, re-elected board members

The American Public Works Association has elected Larry Stevens, P.E., PWLF, project director for the HR Green, Inc. in Johnston, Iowa, as president of the company.

First CSIA-certified controlled system integrator approved in Africa

The Control System Integrators Association announced it has certified a control system integrator company in Africa, demonstrating its commitment to promoting the highest standards in business and management in the automation industry around the world.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA