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Tomblin Announces Home Testing Program; DEP Director Says No MCHM Involved In Slurry Spill

Reported: Feb. 11, 2014 4:20 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 12, 2014 8:39 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Jeff Morris) -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced at a news conference Tuesday that he is launching a West Virginia Testing Assessment Project that will include a home water testing component.

The governor said he has allocated $650,000 in the budget to fund the work of an independent scientific team. The team will first initiate a project that will do an extensive at-the-tap study. In addition, Tomblin said the team will do "odorless" tests of MCHM, the chemical that leaked into the Elk River and led to a massive water crisis in nine counties. The governor said a national group of experts also will be assembled to focus on water quality at the tap.

"It's time for to let the politicians step aside and have scientists step in," Tomblin said.

Dr. Andrew Whelton, who will be part of the team, said at least one home in each of the nine counties that were affected by the chemical spill will have its water tested. He said Kanawha County, the largest county in the affected area, will have two. More than 100 homes will be added after this initial test group.

Meanwhile, Randy Huffman, cabinet secretary for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, gave an update on the coal slurry spill that occurred near Winifrede in Kanawha County. Huffman said no MCHM was involved in the spill as initially believed, and that it was another "medium." It has now been identified as polypropylene glycol.


Huffman said the spill occurred at the Kanawha Eagle Prep Plant, a Patriot property, and the initial estimate is that 108,000 gallons escaped after a coal slurry pipe ruptured and the material escaped secondary containment. The spill went into a tributary that goes into the Kanawha River.

The DEP secretary said the cleanup is under way. Tomblin said tests of the water involved in the spill are being rushed to a laboratory.




CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Jeff Morris) Join WCHSTV.com for a live online news conference Tuesday on a home testing program for water.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has called the news conference that is expected to begin at 4:45 p.m.

Many people have expressed concern about the safety of their water since a Jan. 9 chemical spill in the Elk River. The governor’s office previously said it was working on putting together a home testing program.



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