Tomblin announces plan for in home testing - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Tomblin announces plan for in-home water testing

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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Tuesday evening an independent team will conduct home water testing for those affected by the crude MCHM chemical leak on Jan. 9.

The leak left 300,000 people without clean water and has continued to affect schools and some residents homes in the nine county area.

The testing will be done by an independent team and run under the name West Virginia Testing Assessment Project, or WVTAP.

Tomblin said Dr. Andrew Whelton with the University of South Alabama and Jeffrey Rosen, both of Corona Environmental Consulting will lead the independent team of investigators to conduct the in-home testing.

Whelton said Tuesday evening the team has been in contact with 10 homes and will slowly reach out to more homes throughout the process, resulting in hundreds of total tests.

Whelton said the team will take control of three main objectives including making sure the 10 part per billion screening level established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is safe, determining a safe odor threshold and collecting data for all nine counties as well as developing a future framework.

The project's initial start-up cost is being funded by the state at $650,000. However, both Tomblin and Whelton acknowledged the cost would rise and Tomblin said he would ask for money to fund it from the federal government.

Tomblin said he has reached out to Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, both D-W.Va., as well as Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., to ask for their support of federal assistance to conduct ongoing research to address both short-term and long-term health impacts of the chemical as well as fundamental research about MCHM.

On the same day as the press conference another spill occurred in eastern Kanawha County.

That leak occurred at the Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant near Winifrede. Click HERE for more information about that spill.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection sent inspectors to the scene of the spill.

According to DEP, the plant uses a frothing chemical called Flomin 110-C, which was originally said to contain crude MCHM. 

Randy Huffman, cabinet secretary with DEP, said the spill did not include MCHM.

Huffman said Tuesday evening the spill lasted three hours and resulted in 108,000 gallons of the coal slurry to leak beyond the secondary containment wall.

The recent spill did not effect the West Virginia American Water treatment plant for the 300,000 residents affected in nine counties in January, but could have had an affect on Huntington's water supply and did go into the Kanawha River. Although the water company said they were monitoring the treatment plant and didn't expect it to be impacted by the spill.

DEP said enforcement actions were being taken against the company.