WCHS Eyewitness News Home Charleston Eyewitness Newsroom Charleston Storm Team Weather Sports News TV Program Schedule Community Mobile: Smartphone,Tablet and SMS text Get Connected SMS Text Facebook Twitter See-It,Shoot-It RSS News Feed Email List Tumblr


DEP Responds To Concerns Over Coal Slurry Spill

Reported: Feb. 11, 2014 10:54 PM EST
EYEWITNESS NEWS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO

News Image

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kera Mashek) The investigation continues into what happened to cause a seal and valve on a double containment wall to break, allowing possibly 108,000 gallons of coal slurry to come bubbling out and why an alarm system in place to detect such problems didn't go off at the Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant in Winifrede. The good news--the Department of Environmental Protection says the leaked slurry is not as hazardous as first thought., and steps are being taken to make sure no one's health is at risk.

It's now an all-too-familiar scare: a chemical leaking into water. Sometime between midnight and 5 a.m. Tuesday, coal slurry quickly filled up Fields Creek in Winifrede. People living in the area were panicked when news broke that slurry might contain MCHM, which is the same chemical that leaked from a Freedom Industries tank January 9th, and contaminated the drinking water for 300,000 people.

"Somebody needs to take care of it. That's what their job is--to make sure everybody has safe drinking water," said Leah Hill said.

The slurry came from the Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant, owned by Patriot Coal. Once the DEP arrived on scene, it learned the slurry was far less toxic than initially thought because after the spill at Freedom, Patriot's operation in Winifrede quit using MCHM, and started using something called polypropylene glycol.

"Non-hazardous as expected, incidental to exposure, a non-carcinogen, prolonged contact will not likely cause skin irritation. So it's something that is at least less of a health concern in significantly higher quantities than MCHM," said Randy Huffman with WV DEP.

Neighbors still reported the familiar licorice smell of MCHM, and the DEP says came from a tank left on the property, which is now being hauled away. While the health risk appears low, and the chemical will dilute and dissolve in the water as it flows, there's still a significant impact from this spill.

"When this much coal slurry goes into a stream, it wipes the stream out That's a significant environmental impact and there are significant and steep consequences for this," said Huffman.

A major concern for the DEP is how systems in place at the plant failed, and why the company waited at least two hours to report the spill, and even longer to start damming off the water, when the law requires them to report it and begin containing the spill immediately. It also begs a bigger question...

Eyewitness News asked, "Obviously we're here on the heels of a major water crisis because of another chemical spill...So what are you going to do to stop this stuff from happening?"

"Yeah. I need time to assess what's happened on Fields Creek, but maybe there needs to be a top down review of all their processes. Maybe there's a cultural change in that company that needs to take place that has more of an emphasis on safety, environmental controls, and things like that," Huffman said.

The facility where the slurry spilled Tuesday, apparently has been fined for violations in the past, and prep plants like it are actually required to be inspected at least four times a year. Patriot Coal has not responded to our requests for comment about this spill.



MORE NEWS FROM EYEWITNESS NEWS
New Law Brings Policing Effort To Chemical Storage Tanks
News
Apr. 24, 2014 11:42 PM EDT
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Stefano DiPietrantonio) - New legislation ...
Full News Story and Video

Injury Puts Pilot Program At Risk At Kanawha School Board Meeting
News
Apr. 24, 2014 11:45 PM EDT
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Sean Delancey) -- A four-year-old ...
Full News Story and Video

Police Raid Charleston Bar
News
Apr. 24, 2014 11:01 PM EDT
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Rick Lord) -- Charleston police ...
Full News Story and Video


News Family Seeks To Improve West Side
Apr. 24, 2014 11:01 PM EDT
News Dispatchers Say Person Shot In Dunbar
Apr. 24, 2014 11:32 PM EDT
News WV To Receive $5.6 Million From Federal Government For Laid-Off Miners
Apr. 24, 2014 9:33 PM EDT
News WV Tourism Commissioner Retiring After 37-Year Career
Apr. 24, 2014 9:30 PM EDT
News Conservative PAC Endorses Mooney In U.S. House Race
Apr. 24, 2014 9:00 PM EDT
News Wayne County Special Olympics Canceled Due To Storm Forecast
Apr. 24, 2014 9:21 PM EDT
News Chemical Safety Board Examining Inside Of Freedom Industries Tank
Apr. 24, 2014 11:05 PM EDT
News Some See Correlation Between Dropout, Crime Rates
Apr. 24, 2014 11:02 PM EDT
News MU Students Donate To Locks Of Love
Apr. 24, 2014 7:25 PM EDT
News Charleston Police Say Young Man Shot Wednesday Night On West Side Has Died
Apr. 24, 2014 6:45 PM EDT
News YMCA Hosting Healthy Kids Day
Apr. 24, 2014 6:46 PM EDT
News Graffiti Painted on Huntington Murder Victim's Residence
Apr. 24, 2014 6:41 PM EDT
News Circus Arrives In Town
Apr. 24, 2014 6:45 PM EDT
News 3 Judges Deciding Mayor's Fate
Apr. 24, 2014 5:51 PM EDT
News Ashland School Ordered To Shelter in Place
Apr. 24, 2014 5:02 PM EDT
News Putnam County Man Facing Charges Following Police Pursuit On An ATV
Apr. 24, 2014 4:23 PM EDT
News Major Oil And Gas Firm To List Drilling Chemicals
Apr. 24, 2014 4:05 PM EDT
News Tomblin Sets Up STEM Council
Apr. 24, 2014 4:03 PM EDT
News Construction Worker Killed During Bridge Work In Lawrence County, Ohio
Apr. 24, 2014 4:22 PM EDT
News New Marshall University Basketball Coach Dan D'Antoni Has Deep Ties To School
Apr. 24, 2014 11:02 PM EDT
News Charleston Swears In Six New Police Officers
Apr. 24, 2014 2:29 PM EDT
News New River Gorge National River Fire 90 Percent Contained
Apr. 24, 2014 1:41 PM EDT
News LimeLight Theatre Company Presents "The Three Musketeers"
Apr. 24, 2014 12:52 PM EDT
News Court Documents Say Police Chase, K-9 Unit Led Police To West Side Murder Suspects
Apr. 24, 2014 1:34 PM EDT
News Special Kanawha County Prosecutors Sworn In To Handle Cases
Apr. 24, 2014 1:35 PM EDT
News Fayette County Man To Spend Three Years In Prison For Burning Cats
Apr. 24, 2014 9:57 AM EDT
News Judge Bars Plants And Office From Handling Certain Domestic Violence Cases
Apr. 23, 2014 6:51 PM EDT
News Mullens Girls Gather Donations For Charleston Orphanage
Apr. 23, 2014 11:18 PM EDT
News Potential Layoff Notices Worry Miners In Boone County
Apr. 23, 2014 6:44 PM EDT
News 85th Habitat Home Dedicated In Cabell County
Apr. 23, 2014 6:34 PM EDT


Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

West Virginia News
Flags lowered in honor of late Sen. Bob Holliday

West Virginia flags at the Capitol Complex and at state facilities in Fayette County are being displayed at half-staff in honor of a former lawmaker who died in February.
Full Story

Kentucky News
Grimes criticizes McConnell over jobs comment

A local newspaper story that quoted Mitch McConnell as saying it is "not my job" to bring employment to a struggling Kentucky County has unleashed yet another round of feuding in one of the country's most competitive Senate races.
Full Story

Ohio News
Youngstown State to interview Tressel for top job

Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel is among six candidates being interviewed for the president's job at Youngstown State University, where he used to coach.
Full Story

PREVIOUS NEWS: NOV | CURRENT







Fugitive Files Tuesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

West Virginia Wildlife Wednesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

ABC News web site







Send Mail Send email to news@wchstv.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2014, WCHS-TV8. Portions are Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.

WCHS ABC 8 provides local news, weather forecasts, traffic updates, notices of events and items of interest in the community, sports and entertainment programming for Charleston and nearby towns and communities in the Tri-State area, including Huntington, Dunbar, Marmet, Montgomery, Nitro, South Charleston, St. Albans, Cedar Grove, Chesapeake, Clendenin, East Bank, Glasgow, Pratt, Cross Lanes, Elkview, Pinch, Sissonville, Big Chimney, Cabin Creek, Chelyan, Davis Creek, Institute, Jefferson, Loudendale, Mink Shoals, Pocatalico, Quick, Quincy, Rand, Buffalo, Eleanor, Hurricane, Nitro, Poca, Winfield, Culloden, Fraziers Bottom, Hometown, Red House, Scott Depot, Teays Valley, Danville, Madison, Hamlin, Logan, Chapmanville, Man, Delbarton, Kermit, Gilbert, Matewan, Williamson, Summersville, Richwood, Flatwoods, Gassaway, Sutton, Spencer, Ravenswood, Ripley, Mason, Point Pleasant, Ashland, Pikeville, Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, and Athens.