West Virginia using wise precautions in chemical spill, says WVU - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

West Virginia using wise precautions in chemical spill, says WVU expert

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • One person injured after ATV accident in Fayette County

    One person injured after ATV accident in Fayette County

    Saturday, August 30 2014 4:37 AM EDT2014-08-30 08:37:47 GMT
    Emergency crews were called to the scene of a ATV accident, just before 10 pm Friday.According to Fayette County 911 the ATV was struck by a vehicle along the 1900 block of Rt 60 Anstead area of Fayette County.One person was transported by helicopter, to a local hospital for treatment, The extent of those injuries or what caused the accident is not yet known at this time.The Fayette County Sheriff Department is investigating.
    Emergency crews were called to the scene of a ATV accident, just before 10 pm Friday.According to Fayette County 911 the ATV was struck by a vehicle along the 1900 block of Rt 60 Anstead area of Fayette County.One person was transported by helicopter, to a local hospital for treatment, The extent of those injuries or what caused the accident is not yet known at this time.The Fayette County Sheriff Department is investigating.
  • Intruder Kicks in Door at Apartment in Beckley

    Intruder Kicks in Door at Apartment in Beckley

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:27:05 GMT
    Beckley Police are searching for two suspects after a burglary at the Lewis Ritchie Apartments in Beckley around 10:00 Friday night (8/29). 
    Beckley Police are searching for two suspects after a burglary at the Lewis Ritchie Apartments in Beckley around 10:00 Friday night (8/29). 
  • 21st annual Beckley's Kids Classic Festival kicks off Saturday

    21st annual Beckley's Kids Classic Festival kicks off Saturday

    Friday, August 29 2014 6:22 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:22:20 GMT
    The 21st annual Beckley's Kids Classic Festival kicks off Saturday with the Autumn Fest at Lake Stephens.
    The 21st annual Beckley's Kids Classic Festival kicks off Saturday with the Autumn Fest at Lake Stephens.
  • EducationMore>>

  • Professor of psychology at Glenville State College takes teaching to the seas

    Professor of psychology at Glenville State College takes teaching to the seas

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 3:34 PM EDT2014-08-27 19:34:28 GMT
    When most people envision a college professor in action, the traditional image of people convened in a room in ideally rapt attention more often than not comes to mind.
    When most people envision a college professor in action, the traditional image of people convened in a room in ideally rapt attention more often than not comes to mind.
  • Valley College scheduled to hold graduation ceremony Sept. 12

    Valley College scheduled to hold graduation ceremony Sept. 12

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 9:54 AM EDT2014-08-26 13:54:04 GMT
    On Friday, September 12, Valley College will hold a graduation ceremony at Cornerstone Family Church in Princeton.
    On Friday, September 12, Valley College will hold a graduation ceremony at Cornerstone Family Church in Princeton.
  • WVU Tech and WVU sign 4+1 MBA Pathway agreement

    WVU Tech and WVU sign 4+1 MBA Pathway agreement

    Monday, August 25 2014 1:42 PM EDT2014-08-25 17:42:26 GMT
    On Tuesday, August 26, West Virginia University Tech Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences and West Virginia University College of Business and Economics are set to sign an agreement establishing 4+1 MBA Pathway.
    On Tuesday, August 26, West Virginia University Tech Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences and West Virginia University College of Business and Economics are set to sign an agreement establishing 4+1 MBA Pathway.
MORGANTOWN, WV -

 

A West Virginia University researcher is saying state precautions are prudent in light of a declared state emergency following a chemical spill affecting water in southern West Virginia.

The counties of Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam and Roane are being advised to use tap water only to flush toilets.

The chemical, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, is used as a foaming agent to separate coal from rock in washing plants, said Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute.

He said that the chemical, which has a molecule of alcohol in its chemical composition, is soluble in water. Its main effect on humans would be that of an irritant to the eyes, skin and lungs.

The amount of chemical released into the Elk River—which he estimated to be about 3,000 gallons—would translate to 41 milligrams per liter in the Elk River and six milligrams per liter in the Kanawha River using data available now.

"Those are pretty low concentrations," he said. "You would have to drink thousands of gallons of that water to get anywhere near a lethal dose."

But the diluted chemical could irritate skin and lungs.

"I think the state has got it right when it says as a precautionary measure not to use the water for anything but flushing the toilet," he said. "You want to avoid skin contact or a shower, which would allow the chemical into your lungs."

WVU is advising students, faculty and staff who may be traveling to the area to use caution.

The WVU Center for Service and Learning is currently exploring opportunities to reach out to the affected areas.

The WVU Charleston Division is in operation and classes are in session. Patients will not be seen except in the Behavioral Medicine/Psychiatry area.

All WVU Extension offices remain open. 

"We are on stand-by to help with any questions related to our services that we can answer," said Cassie Waugh, WVU Extension Service communications and marketing manager. "Our county agents are often point people. We can help if anyone has questions about treating livestock and other things during this event."

The official State of Emergency web page can be accessed here.