Map of Charleston and vicinity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
CHARLESTON, WV—The smell lingers—the slightly sweet, slightly bitter odor of a chemical that contaminated the water supply of West Virginia’s capital more than a week ago. It creeps out of faucets and shower heads. It wafts from the Elk River, the site of the spill. Sometimes it hangs in the cold nighttime air.
For several days, a majority of Charleston-area residents have been told their water is safe to drink, that the concentration of a chemical used to wash coal is so low that it won’t be harmful. Restaurants have reopened—using tap water to wash dishes and produce, clean out their soda fountains and make ice.
But as long as people can still smell it, they’re wary—and given the lack of knowledge about the chemical known as MCHM, some experts say their caution is justified.
“I would certainly be waiting until I couldn’t smell it anymore, certainly to be drinking it,” said Richard Denison, a scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund who has followed the spill closely. “I don’t blame people at all for raising questions and wondering whether they can trust what’s being told to them.”
West Virginia counties map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
CHARLESTON, WV — The ban on tap water for parts of West Virginia was lifted on Monday, ending a crisis for some of the 300,000 people who were told not to drink, wash or cook with water after a chemical spill tainted the water supply.
Gov. Earl Tomblin made the announcement at a news conference, five days after people were told to use the water only to flush their toilets.
“The numbers we have today look good and we are finally at a point where the ‘do not use order’ has been lifted,” he said.
Officials are lifting the ban in a strict, methodical manner to help ensure the water system is not overwhelmed by excessive demand, which could cause more water quality and service issues. Customers are being asked to flush out their systems before using the water again, and officials cautioned that the water could still have an odor, but it is safe.
PHOENIXVILLE, PA – State officials including Gov. Tom Corbett will be visiting Aqua America‘s largest water treatment facility Friday for the unveiling of a 6.5-acre solar farm. According to a press release from Aqua America, Corbett will be at the Pickering water treatment facility around 11 a.m. as the company unveils the $6.5 million solar farm that powers the facility serving half a million residents of Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties. The panels will provide 1.5 megawatts of power.
A tanker truck carrying over 7,000 gallons of fuel had an accident near Clarks Ferry. Almost all the fuel in the tanker spilled near the confluence of the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers, north of Harrisburg.
The tanker, owned by Nittany Oil Company of State College, swerved to avoid another vehicle exiting the Clarks Ferry Truck Stop parking lot. The other vehicle pulled out in front of tanker. The tanker rolled over and only an inch of fuel remained in the tanker after the accident. About 7,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel spilled into the Juniata River, creating a “minor” fish kill. I suppose it’s only minor if you aren’t one of the dead fish.
The fuel spill has spread 8 – 10 miles down river, which is causing Harrisburg to consider shutting off a water intake valve from the Susquehanna. A boom has been placed on the river to contain the spill.
This sounds eerily familiar. Fortunately, Tony Hayward is not involved in the cover-up clean-up.