West Virginia chemical spill

5:03 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

No MCHM Chemical Detected In Ohio River, Officials Say

Credit Creative Commons

Louisville tap water is safe to drink and there is no methylcyclohexane methanol—or MCHM—detected in the Ohio as of Saturday, according to officials with the Louisville Water Company.

A chemical plume made its way down the Ohio River after a spill in West Virginia last week that contaminated the water for nine counties there.


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10:48 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Chemical Plume Reaches Louisville; Water Co. Says Treatment Plants Removing Chemical as Expected

Shelves in the Highlands Kroger were emptied of drinking water jugs this morning, even though the Louisville Water Company has assured customers the tap water is safe to drink.
Erica Peterson WFPL

A chemical plume traveling down the Ohio River reached Louisville early this morning, and a water company spokeswoman says the treatment plants are handling the chemical as expected and there's no danger to the public.

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2:49 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Pregnant Women Cautioned on W. Va.'s Drinking Water; Louisville Water Co. Says It's Safe Here

Erica Peterson WFPL

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned pregnant West Virginians in the areas affected by last week’s chemical spill that they might want to drink bottled water until there’s no methylcyclohexane methanol detected in the region’s water system.

Let’s put aside the facts that it’s a little bit ridiculous that the CDC came out with this recommendation nearly a full week after the spill, and that the fact sheet the agency distributed repeatedly contains the phrases “no information” and “no known risk” (emphasis mine—and see yesterday’s post about the reasons there’s little information about this chemical).

But should pregnant women in Louisville sip freely on the city’s water when the chemical plume reaches the city Friday?

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10:44 am
Fri January 10, 2014

A Coal-Cleaning Chemical Spills in West Virginia, Prompting State of Emergency

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

My former home of Charleston, West Virginia—as well as an nine county radius—is under a state of emergency today after an unknown amount of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol spilled into the Elk River. The river supplies drinking water to the area.

The spill happened at a chemical plant that manufactures a product used to wash coal at processing plants in the region. Now, as many as 100,000 people, and possible more, have been warned not to drink, cook or wash with their tap water.

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