EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSVandals Cause Material To Leak Into River Near Magic Island
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Also Contributing: Jeff Morris
Reported: Sep. 5, 2013 4:05 PM EDT
Updated: Sep. 5, 2013 11:01 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Instead of water, a storm drain going into the Kanawha River was flowing white Thursday and filled with a latex substance.
It was the result of a spill that may not have been an accident.
The latex substance was in a tanker truck parked under the interstate 64 exit ramp across the Kanawha Boulevard from the river. The workers with Penhall Construction were gone for the long Labor Day weekend and came back Wednesday to find the latex spilling from one of their trucks. A city engineer said someone apparently got into the fenced-in area and opened the valve on the truck.
The latex is being used to enhance concrete for a resurfacing project on the Fort Hill Bridge. 240 gallons were spilled in all, but not all of that made its way into the river.
Workers pumped a lot of the latex from a storm drain Wednesday and thought they had removed it all, but some of the material made its way to the river.
“Most of that they picked up out of the drain when they discovered it,” Richard Hackney of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, said.
DEP officials were onsite, as workers with the construction company sucked the latex out of the water. The material is non-toxic, but the company could still face a fine and the investigation is continuing to determine if someone did this on purpose.
The construction company worked Thursday night to pump the latex from the water and flush out the drain.
Vandals apparently opened a valve on a truck at a construction site underneath the Fort Hill Bridge, causing a white substance to leak into the Kanawha River near Magic Island, a city official said.
Tom Elkins, the city of Charleston’s stormwater manager, said Thursday that he spoke with a supervisor from Penhall, the state’s Division of Highways contractor working on bridges. Elkins said someone apparently was able to get into a fenced in area over the Labor Day weekend where the company stores its equipment under the Fort Hill Bridge. The vandals opened a valve on a latex truck, causing a latex enhancer that goes into concrete to leak.
Elkins said company workers had a long weekend and didn’t discover the incident until Wednesday and spent the day cleaning up some of the material that had leaked onto the grounds of the site. But some of the latex enhancer, a white-looking substance, got into a state storm inlet and slowly made its way through the drain into the Kanawha River near Magic Island.
He said he was told the material did not pose any danger because it was so diluted.
The state Department of Environmental Protection and the state Department of Transportation were at the site. Elkins said workers were still trying to clean up the leak.
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