Following are some online sources of information on the January 9, 2014, spill of several thousand gallons of a coal-processing chemical (crude 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or MCHM) into the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia, which led to a water-supply state of emergency in that city and nine West Virginia counties.
Senate Bill 373, passed by the 2014 West Virginia Legislature, which creates the “Above-ground Storage Tank Water Resources Protection Act” authorizing various actions related to chemical-storage tanks and protection of water resources (popularly known as the “spill bill”).
Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette newspaper ongoing coverage: http://www.wvgazette.com/section/search?text=Elk+River+spill&x=0&y=0.
West Virginia Public Broadcasting ongoing coverage: http://wvpublic.org/term/elk-river-chemical-spill.
West Virginia Water Research Institute compilation of information and news links through January 2014: http://wvwri.org/in-the-news-wvwri-director-answers-questions-regarding-chemical-spill-in-elk-river/.
West Virginia Governor’s State of Emergency News Releases and Resources: http://www.governor.wv.gov/Pages/State-of-Emergency.aspx.
PBS NewsHour reports: click here.
Federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “2014 West Virginia Chemical Release”: http://emergency.cdc.gov/chemical/MCHM/westvirginia2014/index.asp.
“NSF awards rapid response grants to study West Virginia chemical spill,” National Science Foundation News Release, 1/30/14: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=130304. This study of different aspects of the spill–including extent of the contamination by the main chemical involved and its interaction with water-supply pipes–is being conducted by Andrew Whelton of the University of South Alabama, Jennifer Weidhaas of West Virginia University, and Andrea Dietrich of Virginia Tech.
New Yorker magazine article (long and detailed) on the role of the chemical and coal industries in West Virginia’s economy and politics: “Chemical Valley: The coal industry, the politicians, and the big spill,” 4/7/14.
News Items on Possible Virginia Implications:
The following items discuss the regulatory structure for chemical plants in Virginia and the potential impacts of a spill on water supplies.
Region’s water-supply safety becomes concern after spill in West Virginia, Roanoke Times, 1/14/13;
Officials: Bad spill could happen in Virginia waters, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/14/13;
(Opinion) A W.Va. spill reveals outdated chemical safety laws, Washington Post, 1/14/13.