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White Foam Substance Found In Elk River Remains Mystery

Reported: Mar. 27, 2014 10:19 AM EDT
Updated: Mar. 27, 2014 6:48 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Bob Aaron, Jeff Morris) -- The white foam that was found in the Elk River near Charleston remained a mystery Thursday afternoon.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is investigating the origins of the foam substance seen floating on the Elk River upstream of West Virginia American Water’s Kanawha Valley Water Treatment Plant, according to a news release from the DEP.

The source also appears to be upstream of the Freedom Industries spill site. Water plant officials have been notified and remain in contact with DEP personnel.

WVDEP inspectors are still trying to identify the foam.

Meanwhile, West Virginia American Water said it was notified by the DEP regarding the white foam on the Elk River about 8:40 a.m. Thursday.

"We have remained in contact with WVDEP and the WV Bureau for Public Health regarding this situation," the water company said in a news release. "Water quality staff from our Kanawha Valley water treatment plant have investigated the Elk River upstream of the treatment plant intake and have found a white colored foam intermittently along the banks of the Elk River from Coonskin to Queen Shoals, as well as along Big Sandy Creek in the Clendenin area.

"The appearance indicates that it may be a naturally occurring foam. However, our staff are taking samples to the Charleston plant for pH, turbidity and conductivity analysis, and to our Huntington plant for further organics analysis."




CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Jeff Morris) -- Inspectors from the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection were checking out a white substance Thursday that was spotted on the Elk River.

A DEP spokeswoman said a white, foaming substance was observed on the river above the locations for Freedom Industries and Smith Concrete.

Kanawha County Emergency Manager C.W. Sigman said the substance could be something as simple as soap, but emergency officials were waiting to hear from the DEP to see if the material can be identified.

Eyewitness News has a crew at the scene.



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