Alpha: Some frothing agents use small amounts of MCHM - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Alpha: Some frothing agents use small amounts of MCHM

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The material that leaked into the Elk River and contaminated the drinking water of 16 percent of West Virginia residents is used in the coal industry. Alpha Natural Resources says some frothing agents it uses contain MCHM, but little of it escapes the property.

According to a fact sheet supplied by Alpha, crude MCHM is not stored on Alpha's sites. Rather, MCHM may be included in some brands of frothing agents used at coal processing plants.

"As with all bulk liquids, the use and storage of frothing agents is regulated and storage facilities – which are redundant to protect against spills – are inspected by state environmental regulators," the fact sheet said. "Frothing agents are used in very small quantities in processing coal, and even smaller amounts end up in slurry. "