chemical spill in West Virginia

Environmental Concerns & Debates – Chemical Spill In West Virginia

Environmental Concerns & Debates – Chemical Spill In West Virginia

Many of the West Virginians are facing water problems due to a recent chemical spill from a storage facility near the banks of the Elk River near Charleston. It started on January 9, 2014, when people reported a strong odor in their water supply. The water supply was contaminated at dangerous levels and 300,000 residents of nine counties in West Virginia were told not to drink, wash cloths, do dishes or take showers with the contaminated water, until government confirmed the safety of the water supply, affecting over nine counties in West Virginia.

It has been estimated that about 5,000 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCMH), a harmful toxic chemical used as a foaming agent to wash certain types of commercial coal before sending it to the market, was poured out into the Elk River close to Charleston, which leaked from a 40,000 gallon storage tank.

This raises questions among the people of the United States and all around the world regarding the safety of common people. The question has also been raised that are we protected by enough by government to regulate these companies concerning safety of common people? Questions are also being raised to understand why a storage facility containing toxic chemicals was permitted to be established so close to the Elk river and why it was not inspected or regulated by the state or federal government.

The current laws of West Virginia do not require inspections for storage facilities, but only the chemical manufacturing companies need regular inspections. However, the state lawmakers have not sounded an alarm yet regarding the disaster in Charleston, West Virginia.

On a regular Tuesday briefings of the Senate party leaders, Speaker John Boehner ensured that we already have enough government regulations to address the safety issues on the books, and there is “no need for new regulations.”

water contaminationThe state and federal governments joined together on Friday the 10th January 2014 announced an investigating into this matter declaring it a disaster. The National guards of West Virginia are doing their best to tackle the situation in the nine affected counties, which includes distribution of bottled water, as the local stores and supermarkets are sold out of bottled water.

In an earlier report it was found that the storage facility in question, owned by Freedom Industries Inc. on the banks of Elk River hasn’t been a subject of local, state or federal government monitoring since 1991. A state regulator also mentioned in an interview that no inspections from the state or federal safety department ever visited the site in 15 years.

The responsible parchemical storagety, the Freedom Industries Inc. Has said they do not know how much chemical is spilled into the river, and they are working on cleaning the waters and preventing leakage for further contamination.

The waters supply of West Virginia got clearance from government again on Monday, January 13th, 2014, when the state government said that the water supply was safe for normal use again. The extent of harm of the chemical is still unknown other than it isn’t leather at its strongest concentration as cleared by Kanawha County emergency officials.

Read More