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
Officials Discuss Path Forward From Water Crisis
News
Apr. 22, 2014 11:36 PM EDT
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kennie Bass) -- Eyewitness ...
Full News Story and Video

Officials Say As Many As 108,000 Experienced Health Issues From Chemical Spill
News
Apr. 22, 2014 11:04 PM EDT
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A local health official and ...
Full News Story and Video

Marshall Could Increase Tuition
News
Apr. 22, 2014 11:06 PM EDT
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Dan Matics) -- Marshall University ...
Full News Story and Video


News Findings Released On Kanawha Plane Crash
Apr. 22, 2014 11:03 PM EDT
News Candidate Forum Held In Putnam County
Apr. 22, 2014 11:02 PM EDT
News St. Albans To Vote On Fire Levy
Apr. 22, 2014 11:01 PM EDT
News Kanawha Co. Forum Identifies Drug Abuse, Obesity Among Top Concerns
Apr. 22, 2014 10:29 PM EDT
News Tennant Calls Conservative Group's Voter Registration Mailing "Misleading"
Apr. 22, 2014 11:07 PM EDT
News Huge Subdivision Coming To Poca
Apr. 22, 2014 6:33 PM EDT
News Eyewitness News Town Hall Tuesday To Tackle Post-Water Crisis Issues
Apr. 22, 2014 6:26 PM EDT
News St. Albans Voters To Consider Fire Levy
Apr. 22, 2014 5:48 PM EDT
News WV DHHR Appoints Three Deputy Secretaries
Apr. 22, 2014 5:07 PM EDT
News WV Supreme Court Says There Is "Good Cause" To Hold Hearing On Request To Suspend Plants
Apr. 22, 2014 5:57 PM EDT
News Barbour County Couple Pleads Guilty In Toddler Methadone Death
Apr. 22, 2014 3:08 PM EDT
News WV Chemical Safe Level For Water Based On Two-Week Exposure, Not 100-Plus Days
Apr. 22, 2014 1:39 PM EDT
News Local Children Plant Pinwheels For Abuse Prevention
Apr. 22, 2014 2:00 PM EDT
News NTSB Releases Preliminary Information On Plane Crash That Killed Two In Kanawha County
Apr. 22, 2014 6:25 PM EDT
News Law Enforcement Officers From All Over The State Train for Drug Interdiction
Apr. 22, 2014 2:12 PM EDT
News Freedom Industries' Run-Off Water From Spill To Be Disposed Of In Ohio
Apr. 22, 2014 12:53 PM EDT
News Public Input Sought On Storage Tank Safety Rules
Apr. 22, 2014 12:44 PM EDT
News Huntington Man Found Guilty Of Two Counts Of Murder
Apr. 22, 2014 11:07 PM EDT
News Judge Could Rule As Early As Wednesday On Charleston's Petition To Remove Prosecutor Plants And His Office From Hearing Certain Cases
Apr. 22, 2014 12:31 PM EDT
News Three Plead Not Guilty To Fatal Attack Of Lewis County, Ky. Woman
Apr. 22, 2014 11:42 AM EDT
News Troopers Say Man Charged With Attempted Murder Of Wife Following Shooting
Apr. 22, 2014 10:13 AM EDT
News Man Crashes Into Power Pole, Arrested For DUI
Apr. 22, 2014 4:19 AM EDT
News Firefighters Responding To A Fire In Boone County
Apr. 22, 2014 4:02 AM EDT
News Charleston Tables Race Fee Proposal But Concerns Remain
Apr. 21, 2014 10:44 PM EDT
News Trial For A South Charleston Man Accused Of Attempted Robbery Nears
Apr. 21, 2014 9:54 PM EDT
News Roane County Brush Fire Contained After Burning 15 Acres
Apr. 21, 2014 9:37 PM EDT
News Charleston Has New Fire Chief
Apr. 21, 2014 8:39 PM EDT
News Kanawha Prosecutor Plants Responds To Filing That Seeks His Suspension
Apr. 21, 2014 6:16 PM EDT
News Wildfire Forces Closing Of Portion Of New River Gorge Trail
Apr. 21, 2014 5:38 PM EDT
News New Police Officers Sworn In For Huntington Police Department
Apr. 21, 2014 5:55 PM EDT


Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

West Virginia News
Jobless rates fall in 46 of 55 W.Va. counties

Unemployment rates fell in 46 of West Virginia's 55 counties in March.
Full Story

Kentucky News
Atmos Energy annual rate increase approved

Atmos Energy Corp. customers will see their bills rise after the company won approval for a $8.5 million annual revenue increase.
Full Story

Ohio News
Ohio state park facilities to be modernized

State officials are preparing to invest $88.5 million to upgrade and modernize trails, campgrounds and recreational facilities in Ohio's state parks over the next two years.
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.