January chemical spill

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Source water protection plans are mandates water utilities are required to follow to keep drinking water safe. However, before 2014, following these plans in West Virginia was voluntary. Since the January 2014 Elk River chemical spill, though, legislation was put in place requiring about 125 water systems in the state to have these plans. The law also made what was already on the books much stronger.

Friday, July 1 is the deadline for water and sewer utilities to submit their new plans to the state Bureau for Public Health. Liz McCormick has been following this story and brings us a look into how two utilities – large and small – have been dealing with the new regulatory landscape.

water faucet
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A federal judge is delaying the trial involving a lawsuit filed against a water company and a manufacturer that sold a chemical to a company involved in a massive spill in Charleston.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver told attorneys during a monthly status hearing last week he would need more time to review and rule on several motions. The trial had been scheduled to start July 12.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s well-known what happened in the Kanawha Valley on January 9, 2014. A massive chemical leak into the Elk River left tap water unusable for 300,000 West Virginians for as many as ten days. The 2014 legislative session had just begun, and in response, lawmakers passed a bill that would require all aboveground storage tanks in the state be registered and regulated under the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It was some ten days before all of the families affected by the tap water ban following Charleston’s chemical spill were able to return to life as usual within their homes. And many did just that, once again drinking, cooking and bathing with water straight from the tap. The same, however, can’t be said for every family in the valley including Lida Shepherd, who says she still won’t drink the water.

Elk River Chemical spill
wikimedia / Wikimedia

Leaders of citizen groups, a water scientist and an impacted mother held a phone-based news conference this week to look back on the crisis and outline the progress, pitfalls and next steps in their work to ensure safe drinking water for all West Virginians.

AP

The deadline is approaching to submit aboveground storage tank inspections required by a new state law to protect public water supplies.

Freedom Industries
AP

A former executive facing charges relating to a January chemical spill is opposing prosecutors' push to seize his house, car and cash.

Elk River Chemical spill
wikimedia / Wikimedia

State utility regulators are telling a regional water company to make more information public about how it responded to a January chemical spill.

WOWK

Federal prosecutors want a former executive charged in a January chemical spill on home confinement with electronic monitoring.