One Year Later: Events Held to Remember Elk River Chemical Spill

Jan 8, 2015

Actors Nathan Mohebbi and Nicole Perrone rehearse [glug] at Marshall University.
Credit Provided

Environmentalists, activists and artists of all sorts are commemorating the one year anniversary of a chemical spill into the Elk River near Charleston. The spill of MCHM by Freedom Industries tainted the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians across nine counties and left them without usable tap water for days. 

Here's a list of some of the events happening around Charleston and elsewhere to mark one year since the spill: 

Kick off events for 'January: A Month of Water'

Organized by WV Safe Water Roundtable, a group made up of other groups such as the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and Advocates for a Safe Water System, event's kick off Friday and will last throughout the month.

  • 3– 5 p.m.:  Citizen Education Workshops at the WV Culture Center

Two 2-hour free workshops sponsored by the West Virginia Rivers Coalition that will inform everyone about clean water issues and give them the tools and support to get involved. 

  • 5 – 6:15 p.m. Dignitary Remarks and Networking Reception at the WV Culture Center

Invited dignitaries include Sen. Joe Manchin III, Sen.-elect Shelley Moore Capito, Rep. David McKinley, Rep.-elect Alex Mooney, Rep.-elect Evan Jenkins, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, DEP Sec. Randy Huffman, Incoming Bureau for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta, Sen. Bill Cole, Del. Tim Armstead, Charleston-area outgoing and incoming legislative members. Refreshments will be served.

  • 6:30–7:15pm Honoring the Waters Interfaith Vigil

One-Year Anniversary Candlelight Vigil at the Kanawha River in front of the WV State Capitol.

  • 7:30–8pm Reception

In the WV Culture Center, vigil participants and filmgoers gather.

A shot of the Sutton Dam from Mike Yougren's "Elk River Blues."
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  A world premiere of the documentary film by Mike Youngren features West Virginians’ response to systemic failures that continue to threaten our water. Film sponsored by the West Virginia Rivers Coalition and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston in the WV Culture Center Theater.

Vandalia Collective Puppet Protest

Credit VanCollective

On January 9th at 1:30 p.m. the Vandalia Collective will be in downtown Charleston at the Kanawha County Library, and immediately following in front of the Capitol Building, raising awareness about last year’s chemical spill. They will also promote remembrance events hosted later that day.

[glug]: An Original Play from ​The Lunar Stratagem Theatre Company

Actors Nicole Peronne and Nathan Mohebbi in the original work [glug].
Credit Provided

The Lunar Strategem is an award-winning theater group based in Huntington. They premiere their newest work, [glug], Jan 8-10 at The Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center on the campus of Marshall University. Performances are each night at 7:30 in the Francis-Booth Experimental Theater. Tickets are $12 at the door and free to Marshall Students. 

Grown-up siblings Herbert and Myrtle (Nathan Mohebbi and Nicole Perrone) have lost their trail of breadcrumbs and will go to any lengths to bring water to their town. They even raid their own dreams for some trace of their father, a noted scientist who disappeared under mysterious circumstances when he revealed that the town’s reservoir had been poisoned. Water is as elusive as memory in [glug], a witty, hallucinatory fairy tale for adults.