West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

State environmental regulators and leaders of the coal and power industries announced yesterday they’d filed comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules that aim to reduce carbon emissions.

Governor Tomblin said the Department of Environmental protection worked with the West Virginia Division of Energy and the state Public Service Commission in filing a nearly 70 page document responding to the proposed rules . At a news conference Monday, Tomblin called those rules “unprecedented” and “illegal.”

Follansbee to Pay Fine for Wastewater Pollution

Nov 18, 2014
SieBot / wikimedia commons

 

The city of Follansbee has agreed to pay a $20,000 civil penalty to resolve wastewater pollution violations.

The penalty is part of a recent consent order issued by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. The consent order also requires the city to submit a plan for corrective action. The plan must include an analysis defining the root cause of the wastewater collection system's problems.

Updated on Friday, November, 14 at 4:38 p.m.

West Virginia American Water is returning service to its Kanawha Valley water treatment plant following a sewer line break Thursday on the Elk River above the plant intake. A yellow substance was reported shortly after noon and the company shut down the plant following notification from Metro 911. 

The company says they've consulted with the West Virginia West Virginia Bureau for Public Health about the decision to return service and they continue to work with the state Department of Environmental Protection and first responders. 

West Virginia American Water says the treatment process will be augmented with additional powdered activated carbon.

According to a news release, the company says plant operators have increased  the frequency of testing for: 

  •  total coliform (an indicator of bacteria),
  • pH, conductivity
  • and are continuously monitoring for free chlorine (disinfection).  

The company says they were notified that approximately three gallons of water-based road paint in the sewer system likely caused the yellow color at the site of the sewer line break. The Bureau for Public Health and water quality experts reviewed a MSDS sheet of the paint provided by the City of Charleston and determined it did not pose any threats.

Updated on Friday, November, 14 at 2:46 p.m.

West Virginia American Water spokeswoman Laura Jordan said the shut down their Elk River intake around noon after being notified about the situation.  She says company officials are working with the DEP, first responders and other agencies.

Ongoing testing at the treatment plant shows no change in water quality, according to West Virginia American Water.  

Original Post from Friday, November, 14 at 12:46 p.m.

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater said  that, after consultation with Charleston City officials, it was determined the yellow sheen came from a broken sewer line and the spill "has been contained."

She says West Virginia American  has been notified.

Metro 911 called the report in to the DEP spill line around noon today. A distpatcher there says West Virginia American Water has shut down their Elk River intake.

According to the Charleston Gazette, "the liquid, in a geyser a few feet tall, was on the west side of the river." 

Harry Schaefer, Environmental Protection Agency / wikimedia Commons

  State regulators have approved Union Carbide's plan to clean up a former warehouse and drum storage facility in Charleston.

The Department of Environmental Protection says Union Carbide operated the facilities at the former Kelly Field Site from the late 1940s to the early 1990s. The property is now vacant.

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

  A state Department of Environmental Protection official says the installation of detectors is nearly complete at six West Virginia landfills that will accept low-level radioactive drilling waste from natural gas operations.

Legislation passed earlier this year required radiation monitoring of drill cuttings sent to landfills and overturned tonnage limits for those particular landfills.

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

  A judge says the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection violated the state's Freedom of Information Act when it denied a law firm's request for water pollution data.

Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Charles King ordered the DEP this week to provide the data to Appalachian Mountain Advocates.

The law firm sued the DEP after the agency denied its 2013 request for the most recent quarterly data showing water pollution levels at coal mines statewide. In the past, the DEP provided similar data in a spreadsheet format.

Department of Environmental Protection

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will conduct a public hearing Thursday evening on the  draft interpretive rule for the Aboveground Storage Tank Program.

The new program is a requirement of Senate Bill 373, which passed the West Virginia Legislature in March after the January 9th chemical spill in Charleston contaminated drinking water.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After a chemical spill contaminated the drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians, state lawmakers passed a bill to regulate above ground storage tanks in the hopes of preventing it from happening again. Just a few weeks ago, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection released some guidelines for tank owners on how to interpret that law until their inspection program is finalized later this year. The DEP held an informational meeting in Martinsburg yesterday to hear the concerns of tank owners and collect comments on their new program.

AP

  State environmental officials have tallied more than 45,500 aboveground storage tanks as a deadline passed to register them.

Officials say they're still registering thousands more.

In Charleston on Wednesday, tank owners questioned the state Department of Environmental Protection about upcoming steps. DEP's stakeholder meeting is covering proposed rules for a new law regulating aboveground tanks.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

State regulators are expecting a deluge of last-minute above-ground storage tank registrations.

A new state law requires owners to register above-ground storage tanks by Oct. 1. State officials estimate up to 80,000 tanks could meet the law's registration requirements.

Freedom Industries
AP

State environmental regulators are asking the public to be involved  in the rule-making process for the Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) Program. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection released a rough draft of the program’s emergency rule to get feedback on ways to make it as thorough and effective as possible.

Anthony Lewis / WSAZ

Updated on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 at 5:17 p.m.

WCHS-TV reports that DEP spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater said the agency's emergency response unit checked out the sheen, and believes it is possible it came from a boat, but the agency likely will never know the source for certain.

The DEP doesn't believe the sheen poses any threat to the public, according to their report.

Gillenwater told West Virginia Public Broadcasting that the nearest public drinking water intake is in Huntington along the Ohio River.

Original Post from Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 at 1:32 p.m.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is investigating an oily substance on the Kanawha River, according to WSAZ-TV.

The Charleston television news station reports Kanawha County Emergency Management Director C.W. Sigman says the origin of the substance--and how much of it is present--is currently unknown. 

Sigman says the substance spans the length of the boat dock at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston and there isn't enough of the substance to require a full remediation effort. 

Where Are the Gas Wells in W. Va.?

Sep 15, 2014
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Glynis Board reports on an on line map compiled by the state Department of Environmental Protection showing where horizontal gas well are located.  And Liz McCormick attended a town hall meeting where veterans told officials from the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center what they really need.

Public Can Comment on Above Ground Storage Tank Rule

Sep 12, 2014
Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is taking public comments on the proposed interpretive rule detailing its Aboveground Storage Tank Program, the spill prevention response plan and tank certification requirements.

Comments on the proposed interpretive rule will be taken through Oct. 9, the same day the DEP holds a public hearing about the rule at its headquarters at 6:30 p.m. in Charleston.

The rule was registered with the Secretary of State's office on Tuesday.

Rules Prioritize Above Ground Tank Inspections

Sep 9, 2014
West Virginia State Capitol
davidwilson1949 / wikimedia Commons

Gov. Tomblin said today that after months of hard work by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, an interpretive rule providing guidance on the implementation of Senate Bill 373, the above ground storage safety law, has been established.

Freedom Industries
AP

  Freedom Industries is considering trying to enter a state program to help ease cleanup at the site where a chemical spill polluted the Charleston area's water supply.

The company and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection met last week to discuss whether the site is eligible for the agency's Voluntary Remediation Program.

The Charleston Gazette reports that the move that could result in Freedom having to meet less-stringent contamination standards than under existing enforcement orders.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  State House and Senate leaders are urging the governor to call a special session to delay part of an aboveground storage tank law.

House Speaker Tim Miley and Senate President Jeff Kessler asked Gov.  Tomblin to call the session during next month's interim meetings. They're slated for Sept. 8-10.

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

 

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will live stream the second day of the Surface Mine Board’s hearing regarding the appeal of Keystone Industries’ KD No. 2 mine permit, which is for a surface mine near Kanawha State Forest. The hearing started on Aug. 11 and resumes this Wednesday, Aug. 20, beginning at 8:30 a.m.  

  The National Resources Defense Council is asking federal environmental officials to strip the state's authority over underground injection wells for fracking waste.

Council attorney Matthew McFeeley made the request in a letter Thursday to the Environmental Protection Agency's regional administrator.

The letter says injections occurring at two West Virginia wells are illegal and unauthorized, and both have expired permits.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's Surface Mine Board held its first day long hearing in the case of Keystone Industries' KD Mine No. 2, a mine situated near the boundary of Kanawha State Forest. In the first day, appellant presented evidence and testimony about why the permit should be revoked.

The Allegheny Front's Julie Grant discusses how climate change could be linked to the changing make up of forests in Appalachia and educators gather at Marshall University to discuss reforming the state's education system.  

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Surface Mine Board held the first of at least two hearings focused on Keystone Indutries’ KD Mine No. 2 Monday. The mine is located just 1,500 feet from the edge of the Kanawha State Forest in Kanawha County.

Tom Rist, a Fayetteville attorney, argued the case of a few residents of Middle Lick Branch Road, a small community of four or five homes located just across the street from the forest.

AP

West Virginia officials are reminding tank owners to register their aboveground storage tanks with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Tank registration is required by Oct. 1.

Spirit Services

  State officials say 22,000 gallons of compressor station process water and used oil leaked from a Nitro industrial waste-handling facility.

Tom Aluise, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, says officials at Spirit Services told the state that valves on two tanks failed, causing the leak.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The storage tank that was the source of a chemical spill that contaminated the drinking water supply for 300,000 West Virginians on January 9 has been demolished. Tank 396, which housed the coal-scrubbing compound MCHM, was demolished Tuesday afternoon. Contractors began demolition of the tank farm on July 15.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 West Virginia environmental officials have ordered a new surface coal mining operation near Kanawha State Forest to halt mining.

The stop-work order is from the Department of Environmental Protection. Inspectors issued an "imminent harm cessation order" when they found cracks in a barrier intended to contain runoff in a sediment-control ditch.

It's also meant to prevent dirt and mud from the site from entering a nearby creek.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Demolition has started on at the site of a January chemical spill in Charleston that contaminated public drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians.

Independence Excavating began the demolition process Tuesday by knocking down a brick wall, tearing out piping, and removing materials connected to the tanks. Freedom Chief Restructuring Officer Mark Welch says the first cuts to the tanks will come Wednesday.

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

  State environmental regulators are investigating a sheen on the Monongahela River in Fairmont.

The Department of Environmental Protection tells media outlets that the substance appeared to be petroleum based.

The DEP says the substance won't affect Fairmont's water supply. The city's water intake is upstream on the Tygart Valley River.

Freedom Industries
AP

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has approved a stormwater management plan for the demolition of the Charleston Freedom Industries site. The tanks there were involved in the contamination of the drinking water for some 300,000 West Virginians in January.

According to the plan approved Monday, Freedom Industries contractors will place liners over the footprint of the tanks to prevent stormwater from unintentionally entering the ground.

Contractors will also halt the demolition process if more than two inches of rain falls within a six-hour period.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

About 7 miles outside of Charleston sits 9,300 acres of protected land. The Kanawha State Forest is home to hiking and biking trails, campsites and a shooting range, but just a few hundred acres away, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has approved a mountain top removal mine site.

The Kanawha State Forest Coalition, a group of concerned Kanawha County residents, formed to fight the site and get the administration to withdraw the permit, saving hundreds of plant and animal species on Middle Lick Mountain where mining is set to begin.

Freedom Industries
AP

  State and federal environmental officials say they don't have a way to monitor air quality as chemical storage tanks are taken down at the industrial site that fouled public drinking supplies for 300,000 West Virginia water customers.

The work is scheduled to begin next week at the former Freedom Industries site on the Elk River.

A spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection told The Charleston Gazette the state lacks the technology to perform the air testing for traces of the toxic chemical MCHM. She also said there are no established screening values for safe inhalation levels.

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