Select Page

Command Sgt. Maj. Steve Deweese, assigned to Camp Dawson in Kingwood, WV, loads water into a vehicle. The West Virginia National Guard was activated to distribute drinking water and assist residents affected by the Freedom Industries MCHM spill into the Elk River near Charleston. By Staff Sgt. De-Juan Haley [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Most Charleston region residents are back to a more routine life after the January 9 spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) into the Elk River by Freedom Industries closed their water supply for five days.  (See EarthDesk January 14 and January 16). But the story is still developing:

  • Many residents still refuse to drink the water, and affected schools have been ordered to use bottled water.
  • The WV attorney general is investigating phony water pipeline insurance, and price gouging of bottled water.
  • U.S. Senators Manchin, Boxer and Rockefeller have introduced legislation that, they say, will curb future spills and protect drinking water.
  • Freedom Industries has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the wake of 25 lawsuits aimed at the company.

Follow the links on the next page for more information:

Charleston Gazette
Schools sticking with bottled water for kids

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Although West Virginia American Water’s “do-not-use” water advisory was lifted completely Friday, West Virginia Department of Education officials recommend that schools affected by last week’s chemical leak use only bottled water through next week.  More  . . .

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey
Notify AG’s office of price gouging and water insurance offers at 800-368-8808.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today advised West Virginia consumers, especially those in the nine-county region impacted by a chemical leak, to be cautious of companies who offer to sell them insurance to cover water line, sewer line and plumbing repairs.  More . . .

Urges West Virginians to report any business or individual who dramatically increases the price of water, ice or other essential consumer goods in response to the water emergency in Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Lincoln, Logan, Kanawha, Putnam and Roane counties.  More . . .

Senator Joe Manchin, D-WV
Manchin, Boxer, Rockefeller to Introduce Bill to Prevent Chemical Spills

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) today reached agreement on legislative language that will help protect Americans from chemical spills that threaten drinking water. This bill, the Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act, brings together in one place the tools to provide oversight of chemical facilities.  More . . .

The New York Times
Company in West Virginia Spill Files for Bankruptcy

Freedom Industries, the West Virginia company whose chemical spill last week tainted the drinking water of more than 300,000 residents in and around Charleston, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday.

In documents filed in federal bankruptcy court in Charleston, a lawyer for the company stated that the spill apparently occurred after a broken water line caused the ground to freeze beneath an aging chemical storage tank, pushing an unidentified object into the bottom of the tank.  More . . .