Energy & Environment

@chemsafetyboard / Twitter

Tanks at the facility that spilled chemicals into 300,000 West Virginians' water supply were deemed out of federal compliance three months before the leak.
 
     U.S. Chemical Safety Board Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso told a congressional panel Monday that Freedom Industries ordered its own review of its tanks last October.

The Allegheny Front speaks with news director Beth Vorhees about the latest on the Elk River chemical spill and where we are one month later.

Appalachian Power says small business owners are the target of a scam seeking to extort cash.

The power company says reports of the scam are coming from its West Virginia customers, but it says its customers in Virginia and Tennessee are also likely to be targeted.

The scam works this way:

It was evolution versus creationism during a high profile debate in Kentucky.

Contaminated water is still a hot topic in West Virginia and we have a primer on testing it.

Regulating gas drilling has been a concern for a long time and there are lessons to learn from the past.

And it’s a good year to pick up the sport of snowshoeing.

Flickr / davidwilson1949

Two West Virginia government agencies have been accused of ignoring steps that could have taken to prevent the Jan. 9 chemical spill which tainted the drinking water supply for residents in nine counties.

The Charleston Gazette reports an emergency petition was filed Friday with the state Supreme Court on behalf of two nonprofit groups and two Charleston-area residents.

Four weeks after the spill from Freedom Industries, test results from one school in West Virginia shows traces of MCHM.

A sink at George Washington High School that had a sample gathered Thursday, February 6 tested at 0.018 ppm. This level remains below the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended threshold of 1 parts per million.

Test results from 13 other schools being tested show non-detect levels of MCHM.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing Monday morning in Charleston to learn more about the Jan. 9 chemical spill into the Elk River that left 300,000 people banned from using tap water for up to 10 days.

The witness list included the president of West Virginia American Water, state health, homeland security and environmental officials, the chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and county emergency and homeland security officials.

Freedom Industries President Gary Southern was invited but did not attend.

Raymond Thompson / WVU

West Virginia University researchers say, in an effort to fulfill their land-grant institution mission of serving communities in the state, they stepped up to begin a research project to study the Elk River Chemical spill. University funds as well as a grant from the National Science Foundation have provided seed money to immediately collect perishable data to conduct this study.

Lead Researchers:

Kanawha County Commission
Kanawha County Commission

 
The Kanawha County Commission and the City of Charleston have announced bulk water distribution sites for Friday, February 7th through Sunday, February 9th.

 

  • Crossing Mall – Elkview
  • Walmart Parking Lot – Quincy
  • Shawnee Park – Institute
  • Old Big Sandy Parking Lot – Cross Lanes
  • Big Lots Parking Lot –Patrick Street – Charleston

The Kanawha County Commission says bulk water tankers and buffaloes will remain at locations each day until 5:00 p.m. due to temperatures which are expected to drop below freezing nightly. 

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has announced a field hearing in Charleston on West Virginia's chemical spill. The meeting will take place Monday at 9 a.m. at the Kanawha County Courthouse.

The witness list includes the president of West Virginia American Water, state health officials, homeland security and environmental officials, the chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and county emergency officials.

Freedom Industries President Gary Southern has been invited. His attendance has not been confirmed.

A Wacky and Wild Winter in West Virginia

Feb 6, 2014
Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia’s going through a tough winter. Not just because several places have endured record low temperatures,  but also because it’s on pace to get more than usual amounts of snowfall.

West Virginia's lowlands are on pace to get higher than normal amounts of snowfall this year, according to Joe Merchant, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Merchant adds however, that some of the highest elevations are receiving about the same amounts of snowfall as expected.

Twitter

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is evaluating options to test tap water in people's homes after last month's chemical spill.
 
     After the Jan. 9 chemical spill, officials have based testing at the West Virginia American Water treatment plant and various other spots across the affected region.
 

Two West Virginia schools closed early because of an odor resembling the chemical that spilled into a regional water system last month.
 
     Riverside High and Midland Trail Elementary in Kanawha County closed Wednesday morning because of the licorice smell.
 
     The chemical wasn't detected in previous testing.
 

Chuck Roberts / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin was joined Wednesday by state officials as well as officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Environmental Protection Agency to provide an update to the ongoing response to the January 9 chemical spill by Freedom Industries into the Elk River.

Here's what we learned from the briefing:

1. The 1 parts per million threshold for MCHM doesn't declare the water "safe."

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Tomblin Wednesday afternoon joined members of the state and federal team involved in efforts following the January 9 chemical spill into the Elk River and water crisis that followed. Tomblin, along with officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as state agencies, provided an update on what has been accomplished, the current status of spill response, and the actions the team plans to take moving forward.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Thousands of gallons of the chemical that spilled into 300,000 people's water supply are leaving West Virginia and heading to Pennsylvania.
 
     Freedom Industries expected to move 3,500 gallons of crude MCHM from its Nitro facility to a coal facility in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

The Charleston Gazette reports that two schools have dismissed early Wednesday morning over concerns regarding the safety of the water after a flushing process began this morning.

The CDC has published information regarding chemicals involved in the Elk River chemical spill, how they've determined thresholds for safe drinking water, and more.

Freedom Industries
AP

Officials from the federal agency that helped determine when people could use their water again will be visiting Charleston.
 
     Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Wednesday will give officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention an update on last month's chemical spill. Environmental Protection Agency officials will join them.
 

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin
Provided

An official says two state air quality employees have appeared in front of a federal grand jury about the West Virginia chemical spill.
 
     State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Tom Aluise confirmed Tuesday that they testified several weeks ago in Beckley.
 

News director Beth Vorhees speaks with Here & Now's Robin Young about Monday night's public hearing in the House of Delegates chamber and other aspects of the story on the January 9 chemical spill at Freedom Industries.

Watch video of the U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing testimony on the West Virginia chemical spill held February 4.

 
 The Committee on Environment and Public Works' water and wildlife subcommittee convened Tuesday on the spill that left 300,000 people without clean water for days.
 

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: I'm Brian Naylor in Washington.

Kanawha County Commission
Kanawha County Commission

Bulk Water Tankers – Bring Your Own Container Locations

  • Crossings Mall – Elkview
  • Walmart Parking Lot – Quincy
  • Old Big Sandy Parking Lot – Cross Lanes
  • Shawnee Park – Institute

Editor's Note: Officials with Kanawha County said Monday that winter weather has affected the ability to offer more bottled water at this time. We will update this post once again if announcements are made about bottled water distribution or if bulk water supply locations are changed.

Wikimedia Commons

Water: It flows through our very blood, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells. It flushes waste from our bodies, cushions our joints and allows us to digest and absorb food. The average adult human body is about 60 percent water. Perhaps it’s not surprising that so many are still offended and disturbed by the water crisis in the Kanawha Valley—“Kanawha” which, by the way, means “water way.”

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The state Division of Homeland Security released audio Friday of Freedom Industries' employee Bob Reynolds notifying the state spill hotline that a chemical was leaking at their Charleston location. The call was received at 12:05 p.m. on January 9.

Reynolds told the operator, identified later in the call only as Laverne, the Department of Environmental Protection was already on site.

"I heard about it about 15 minutes ago," Reynolds told the operator when asked what time the leak occurred. The operator estimated the time to be about 11:40 a.m.

The natural gas boom begs the question: what do you do with the waste?

A Virginia learning center focuses on good water stewardship.

3-D printers help Marshall University students learn human evolution.

And…what is that pink, teepee-shaped building in Pocahontas County, W.Va., anyway?

Kanawha County Schools

Tests conducted more than two weeks after a chemical spill tainted the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians show the presence of the chemical remains in five schools.
 
     The state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management on Friday released the results of water samples taken at 83 schools in five counties.
 

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A spokesman for a West Virginia environmental agency says cleanup crews at the site of a previous chemical spill severed an underground pipe, but none of the chemical that tainted the area's water supply earlier this month reached a nearby river this time.
 
     Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Tom Aluise says crews didn't know the pipe was there when it was struck Thursday night at the Freedom Industries site along the Elk River.
 

Pages