Weatherford Democrat

Online Only

January 11, 2014

300,000 in W.Va. without drinkable water; no timeline for fix

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There is no timeline for when 300,000 West Virginia residents can drink their tap water again, after thousands of gallons of unsafe chemicals leaked from a storage tank into the river that supplies water to households in nine counties.

FEMA distributed bottled water to residents at dozens of locations in the affected area Friday, and President Obama issued a disaster declaration for the region. Federal prosecutors announced they would investigate the chemical spill.

West Virginia American Water president Jeff McIntyre said Friday that he could not say for sure if the water his company provides is safe, and he does not yet have a timeline for when it will be drinkable again. The affected counties are all in the area around the state capitol of Charleston, including Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam and Roane counties.

On Thursday afternoon, a chemical that McIntyre said his company doesn’t test for because “it isn’t supposed to be in the water,” entered the intake system on the Elk River. The substance -- 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, a frothing agent used to clean coal -- leaked from a 40,000 gallon tank at the Freedom Industries chemical plant, then leached through the soil into the river. It then entered the water company’s system about 2 p.m. By 4 p.m., the filtration system could no longer handle the amount of contamination in the water, McIntyre said.

McIntyre said he did not yet know how much of the chemical may have leached into the water, but a state Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson said he was “confident no more than 5,000 gallons escaped.”

“A certain amount of that got into the river,” said the DEP’s Tom Aluise. “Some of that was contained.”

No production or actual coal cleaning goes on at the Freedom Industries facility on the Elk River, where he said the company operates a tank farm for storage. The leaky tank is close to the river, Aluise said. The chemical, which is not water soluble and may look like cooking oil, will dissipate as it floats downstream, he advised.

Text Only
Online Only
  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 15, 2014

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 4.02.29 PM.png VIDEO: Nebraska prom mishap goes viral

    A group of 22 high school students from Pierce, Neb., all decked out in prom finery, took an unplanned dip in a four-foot-deep pond when the bridge they were posing on for pictures gave way. Photos from the incident have gone viral on social media.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stepping forward: The real Colbert

    Letterman changed the late-night TV game between his run on NBC's "Late Night" and starting the "Late Show" franchise in 1993. And while it's tough to replace a pop-culture icon, Colbert, in terms of pedigree and sense of humor, makes the most sense.

    April 12, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • mfp file Hoffner Fired coach unjustly accused of visiting porn sites

    The president of Minnesota State University-Mankato accused a football coach of looking at Internet porn on a work computer before firing him, an arbitrator has revealed. The official said the claim could not be supported, and the coach shouldn't have been fired.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 4.49.09 PM.png Train, entertain your pets with these 3 smartphone apps

    While they may not have thumbs to use the phone, pets can benefit from smartphone apps designed specifically for them.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 25801486.jpg VIDEO: Northern California bus crash kills 10

    At least nine people died in Northern California on Thursday night, in an accident involving a bus, a car and FedEx truck. The bus was filled with high school students from Southern California who were on their way to visit a college campus.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Millions of Android phones, tablets vulnerable to Heartbleed bug

    Millions of smartphones and tablets running Google's Android operating system have the Heartbleed software bug, in a sign of how broadly the flaw extends beyond the Web and into consumer devices.

    April 11, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers