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Jan. 12, 2022 by Johnathan Clark

States Should Act to Protect People and Our Environment from Unregulated Chemical Tanks

On the morning of January 9, 2014, residents of Charleston, West Virginia, noticed an unusual licorice-like odor in their tap water. Within hours, a federal state of emergency was declared as 300,000 West Virginia residents were advised to avoid contact with their tap water, forcing those affected to rely on bottled water until the water supply was restored over one week later.

Even after service was restored, traces of the chemical remained detectable in Charleston's water supply months after the spill. The economy of the region was brought to an abrupt halt and nearly 400 people sought emergency room care with symptoms of nausea, headaches, and vomiting.

The cause of the contamination was methylcyclohexane methanol (“MHCM”), a chemical used in industrial coal processing. Roughly 11,000 gallons of the substance had leaked from a severely corroded aboveground storage tank located a mile and a half north of the city’s municipal water intake on the banks of the Elk River, poisoning the water supply of nine counties.

In the aftermath of the spill, many West Virginia residents were left wondering how such a disaster could have struck with so little warning. State inspectors who arrived at the facility noted …

July 1, 2015 by Evan Isaacson
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Editors’ Note:  This is the sixth in a series of posts on measuring progress toward the 2017 interim goal of the Bay TMDL.  The first five posts cover the region as a whole, and then Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia, Future posts will explore the progress of the two remaining jurisdictions.

Like New York, the State of West Virginia can seem a bit distant from the Chesapeake Bay and the process of implementing the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (Bay TMDL).  But, even though most of the state’s waterways drain into the Ohio River rather than to the Bay, some of the fastest growing counties in West Virginia are those surrounding the Potomac headwaters, and a short drive to the Bay itself.  West Virginia has experienced at least some success to date in reducing nutrient and sediment pollution under the Bay TMDL, but recent information …

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More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
Jan. 12, 2022

States Should Act to Protect People and Our Environment from Unregulated Chemical Tanks

July 1, 2015

West Virginia's Bay TMDL Progress Needs to Accelerate