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State of Emergency Declared in West Virginia after Chemical Spill

Posted by feww on January 10, 2014


An earlier version of this post was filtered/blocked by Google

300,000 People without water as chemical pollutes Elk River in

Governor Tomblin has declared a State of Emergency for nine counties in West Virginia following a major spill of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, a chemical used in the coal industry, along the Elk River in Charleston.

Tomblin has urged the residents NOT to use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing.

“West Virginians in the affected service areas are urged NOT to use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing. Right now, our priorities are our hospitals, nursing homes, and schools,” said Gov. Tomblin in a statement.

The State of Emergency Declaration is for Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam, and Roane counties.  “This declaration follows a notice from West Virginia American Water Company that its water supply had become contaminated.  Residents served by Lincoln PSD, Queen Shoals PSD, Reamer PSD, City of Culloden PSD, and City of Hurricane PSD are also affected.” according to the WV State website.

A DEP spokesperson said the chemical was 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, a “sudsing agent,”  which is used in the processing of coal.

School Closures

Schools were ordered closed in  Boone,  Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln and Putnam counties as of 10 p.m. Thursday, officials said.

Tomblin said the state of emergency would stay until the state Department of Health and Human Resources, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the water company say the water is safe.

“It could take some time, they can’t tell us how long it will take, to get the system flushed clean because some of these pipes go out as far as 60 miles.” He said.

Freedom Industries

The Chemical leak from Freedom Industries occurred upstream of the intake at the Kanawha Valley water treatment—the largest in West Virginia—and has resulted in a tap water ban for at least 100,000 homes and businesses, or about 300,000 people, said West Virginia American Water.

Freedom Industries describes itself as “a full service producer of specialty chemicals for the mining, steel, and cement industries.” The company was founded in 1986 in Charleston, WV, according to the company website.

etowah river terminal-
Freedom Industries Etowah River Terminal.  The terminal is a liquid bulk storage and distribution facility servicing the Port of Charleston, West Virginia. The terminal is located on the Elk River, 2.5 miles from the Kanawha River in Downtown Charleston. Etowah River Terminal operates 13 bulk tanks with a total liquid storage capacity of 4,000,000 gallons. Source:

The company says it is a “leading producer of freeze conditioning agents, dust control palliatives, flotation reagents, water treatment polymers and other specialty chemicals.”

State of Emergency in West Virginia

01-10-14 @ 12:48AM

The White House has approved Gov. Tomblin’s request for a federal emergency declaration to assist with the situation in affected areas.

01-09-14 @ 9:32PM

Water to be available through the county offices of emergency services

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin this evening issued a State of Emergency for Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam, and Roane counties.  This declaration follows a notice from West Virginia American Water Company that its water supply had become contaminated.  Residents served by Lincoln PSD, Queen Shoals PSD, Reamer PSD, City of Culloden PSD, and City of Hurricane PSD are also affected.

“West Virginians in the affected service areas are urged NOT to use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing,” Gov. Tomblin said.  “Right now, our priorities are our hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.  I’ve been working with our National Guard and Office of Emergency Services in an effort to provide water and supplies through the county emergency services offices as quickly as possible.”

9 Responses to “State of Emergency Declared in West Virginia after Chemical Spill”

  1. Haley B said

    “Coal ash basin water” probably safer than fracking fluid!!!

    An estimated 24 to 27 million gallons of ash basin water spilled into Dan River.
    Water samples showed “extremely high levels of arsenic, chromium, iron, lead and other toxic metals typically found in coal ash.”

    see also

  2. Haley B said

    GE misstated chemical injury to NY’s Hudson River: federal trustees
    Reuters) – General Electric Co has understated or misstated the environmental harm of its chemical dumping into New York’s Hudson River, federal officials alleged on Monday.

    The company’s recent report to New York state officials failed to mention harm done to fish, waterfowl and groundwater, the Federal Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees said in a letter to the company that the trustees made public.

    The trustees said the GE report “ignores significant natural resource injuries that have already been established by the Trustees.”

    GE dumped toxic chemicals, in particular polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, some 150 miles north of New York City for three decades prior to discontinuing their use in 1977. The U.S. manufacturing conglomerate has spent more than $1 billion to clean it up.

    The trustees are assessing the harm caused by the PCBs in order develop a plan for restoring the natural resources along the river. A separate federal agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, is overseeing the cleanup efforts.

    In an emailed statement, GE said its report “is a comprehensive and factual analysis of actual Hudson River data, including in substantial part the Trustees’ own reports.”

  3. pamela said

    The following is from a subscriber list for the Institute for Public Accuracy []
    ——————————-West Virginia Chemical Spill—————————–

    RUSSELL MOKHIBER,, @CorpCrimeReport

    Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter and in West Virginia. He said today: “In West Virginia, both the Republicans and Democrats are bought and paid for and regularly mouth Wall Street’s deregulatory dogma. West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection is in the pocket of the coal and chemical industries. The state’s mainstream media — with the exception of the Charleston Gazette — is asleep at the wheel.

    “The local federal prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, is best known for giving Massey Energy a non-prosecution agreement in the face of 29 dead miners and a mountain of evidence — including 300 violations of federal law and nine flagrant violations that led to the April 2010 explosion and caused the deaths at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine. So, when a chemical leaked from a storage tank owned by the aptly named Freedom Industries (freedom from law and order, in this case) into the Elk River in Charleston last week, who could be surprised? Luckily, an independent political slate is being organized to push back against the state’s corporate cabal. The independent slate is being led by former CBS News reporter Ed Rabel, who is running for Congress in the second Congressional district and this week called for holding accountable ‘not just Freedom Industries, but all the irresponsible, shady, fast-buck operators that the coal industry brings into the state and their apologists in the state government, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.'”

    Mokhiber just wrote the piece “Ed Rabel, Booth Goodwin, West Virginia and the Chemical Spill” which notes that “In Washington, Democrats took Rabel up on his idea [for a Congressional investigation]. Congressmen Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), called for hearings.”

  4. Why on earth, did they put that place so close to the river to begin with?

    • feww said

      Rivers, lakes, seas and oceans are used as a matter of commercial convenience, and not just for the ease of shipping goods and cutting transport costs, or cooling nuclear reactors, but for dumping toxic waste that are too expensive to recycle, or too obvious to bury in the ground.

      • My gosh!!!! They might have dumped that chemical on purpose!??

        • feww said

          It’s highly unlikely that anyone with any degree of intelligence would intentionally dump toxic substances into the water supply source.

          Then again, no one has ever accused the major energy firms and the related industries of being bright. Look at how they are fracking the earth.

      • Linda said

        Information on leak’s 2nd chemical ‘very limited’
        Freedom marked chemical ID as ‘proprietary’

        CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Federal and state officials scrambled Wednesday for more information following the surprise disclosure Tuesday that an additional chemical was also in the tank that spilled Crude MCHM into the Elk River public drinking water supply two weeks ago.

        Freedom Industries disclosed the information to state and federal regulators on Tuesday morning, but health impacts of the chemical remain unclear, and Freedom Industries has claimed the exact identify of the substance is “proprietary.”

        In an email to state officials Tuesday night and a press statement this morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control noted that data about the potential health effects of the chemical “PPH” are — like the information on Crude MCHM — “very limited.”

        CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said Wednesday that information thus far indicates that PPH is probably less toxic than Crude MCHM, and officials have said they believe that West Virginia American Water’s treatment system was likely able to remove the PPH from the water.

        “Given the small percentage of PPH in the tank and information suggesting similar water solubility as MCHM, it is likely that any amount of PPH currently in the water system would be extremely low,” Reynolds said in an emailed statement. “However, the water system has not been tested for this material.”

        The Gazette learned about the additional chemical from a source, and confirmed that information with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. Later, the Tomblin administration made officials from several agencies available to provide additional details.

        More at source …

  5. Reblogged this on Shania's song..

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