On January 30, 2014, the National Science Foundation announced that it awarded a “rapid-response” research grant to three scientists to study different aspects of the January 9, 2014, spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) from a chemical plant into the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia. The spill led to the loss of public drinking water for several days and–as of early February–to continuing questions and concerns about the effects of MCHM (along with a second chemical, PPH, which was reported later in January also to have been in the leak, although in much smaller amounts than MCHM). The 0ne-year, $150,000 combined study is being conducted by Andrea Dietrich of Virginia Tech (focusing on the behavior of MCHM in the environment), Jennifer Weidhaas of West Virginia University (focusing on the extent of the contamination by MCHM) and Andrew Whelton of the University of South Alabama, and a Virginia Tech graduate (focusing on MCHM’s interaction with plastic water-supply pipes).
Sources: NSF AwardsRapid Response Grants to Study West Virginia Chemical Spill, National Science Foundation News Release, 1/30/14; and A Second Chemical Was Part of West Virginia Chemical Spill, Company Reveals, New York Times, 1/22/14.
For links to other sources of information about the West Virginia spill, please see this Water Central News Grouper post of Jan. 10, 2014:
West Virginia Chemical Spill on Jan. 9, 2014 – Information Sources.