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West Virginia water contamination

West Virginia Water Contamination 2014

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#1 Spectacles

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 02:50 PM

Has anyone been following this story?

http://www.usnews.co...with-violations


Quote


The company responsible for the West Virginia chemical spill that poisoned drinking water for more than 300,000 residents last Thursday was slapped with a slew of violations by state environmental inspectors Monday - made public Wednesday - for infractions at another allegedly unsafe storage site.
The company, Freedom Industries, "failed to store drums containing materials that have the potential to contaminate groundwater so that spills and leaks are contained," according to violation notices released by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, and first reported by The Charleston Daily Mail.

Investigators also found that above ground storage tanks were not properly surrounded with secondary protections, such as walls or trenches, and that the facility lacked spill kits to contain any errant chemicals, spill logs to record the accidents and no record of site inspections.

How nice that the state environmental inspectors finally paid attention. Too bad it was too late.

I read that the facility where the leak occurred was not required to have regular inspections since it was designated a "storage" facility. Safe to say now that this was probably not a good idea.

The company itself was responsible for allowing conditions of its tanks to deteriorate to the degree that a leak of a toxic chemical was allowed to happen--and to pour into the Elk River, upstream from a water purification facility.

But I suspect that when this is fully scrutinized that the state of WV has some culpability here too. Even if they've managed to cover their fannies bureaucratically, morally those who are answerable to the people of WV regarding the safety of their water supply share some blame here.

But coal runs West Virginia--and this plant held chemicals used in coal processing. Whenever there is a mine disaster, we usually discover that regulations have been gutted or simply not enforced. I wonder if that is what happened here.

We need regulations. A surprising number of companies are not good at running a clean, tight ship. And when they hit the rocks, the citizens around them suffer.

We also need enforcement of regulations. But too many people have bought into the notion that regulations are bad, that they kill business. Certainly, a lot of West Virginians, desperate for jobs, have been willing to believe so. This experience may change some minds.

Edited by Spectacles, 16 January 2014 - 02:51 PM.

"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#2 Balderdash

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 03:36 PM

Quote

We also need enforcement of regulations. But too many people have bought into the notion that regulations are bad, that they kill business. Certainly, a lot of West Virginians, desperate for jobs, have been willing to believe so. This experience may change some minds.

Yeah and I'm mighty tired of hearing about commie regulations hurting businesses.  How about the businesses hurting and killing us?
Businesses aren't going to police themselves, government HAS to or we get this kind of evil.

Another Democrat leaning Independent that has to search for truth because it can't be found on Fox News OR MSNBC.



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#3 Nonny

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 04:40 PM

I'm horrified, but not the tiniest bit surprised.  I wish it couldn't happen again, but not pinning my hopes on that wish.   :(
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#4 Rhea

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 09:28 PM

Where were the frigging inspectors? Since 2003 Chemical facilities are subject to regular Federal inspections. Who got paid off?
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#5 tennyson

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 09:28 PM

I reached the point yesterday where I was going to post it if no one else did. I don't live in the affected area but this affected a truly enormous area of West Virginia.
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#6 Spectacles

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 06:12 AM

Interesting thoughts on this by a native West Virginian here:

http://www.wvgazette...es/201401150115
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#7 Tricia

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 09:46 AM

Last night on the evening news they said that people were okay to drink the water now....and the guy who was being interviewed did so from a water fountain..but that pregnant women should not.  

Not exactly a confidence booster in the safety of the water, I'd think when you add that part.  

But then again I'm not really too confident of the safety of these type of storage facilities or plants anyway.  It seems that when something like this happens they have not been inspected much, if at all, or have bought their way out of whatever issues caused the trouble (they had  name for this in the West explosion that I don't remember) and it's all legal or not against the current rules.  That needs to stop

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#8 Spectacles

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 02:22 PM

This is so dumb I don't even know what to say:

http://www.wvgazette...ws/201401160024

Quote


CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia American Water pulled its bulk water tankers out of service in Kanawha County Thursday evening, after complaints that the water being distributed to residents had the same odor as the chemical-tainted water from last week's Freedom Industries spill into the Elk River.

Kanawha County Manager Jennifer Sayre said complaints began coming in late Thursday afternoon about the now-familiar licorice odor in water given out at the Crossings Mall in Elkview and at Riverside High School.

Quote

According to Sayre, county officials originally were told the tankers were being filled "off site, out of Charleston." After hearing complaints, though, they checked again with West Virginia American Water officials, who told them to take the tankers out of circulation, Sayre said.

Water company spokeswoman Laura Jordan said the tankers had been filled near the plant after zero levels of the chemical "Crude MCHM" were recorded. "But to avoid any concerns," she said, "just to reassure our customers, we're filling up the tankers from another system."

Jordan referred to the Wednesday night recommendation from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that pregnant women not drink the water, and said that had made people more nervous.

"We understand that people are a little sensitive, especially with that," she said. "We don't want to add to it."

Edited by Spectacles, 17 January 2014 - 02:23 PM.

"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#9 Balderdash

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 02:27 PM

Sounds like a 3 Stooges episode...

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#10 Nonny

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 02:49 PM

A little freaking sensitive?!!  Is this spokeswoman even from the same planet that I'm from?!!  Somehow, I doubt it.   :yucky:
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"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

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Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#11 Nonny

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 08:18 PM

And guess who gets to pay?
"Freedom" to socialize the losses: chemical company declares bankruptcy

http://www.dailykos....detail=facebook

Quote

This company lacks the assets to clean up their own messes. So have filed for bankruptcy...
To all this can be added the fact that Freedom Industries was cofounded by an individual named Carl Lemley Kennedy II. As the Charleston Gazette has reported, Kennedy filed for personal bankruptcy in 2005 after he was hit with federal charges of tax evasion and failure to remit employee withholding taxes...
Another remarkable aspect of the story reported by the Gazette is that Freedom Industries was struggling in 2009, and its Elk River facility was able to go on functioning only after the Army Corps of Engineers dredged that portion of the river using federal stimulus funds.
To summarize: a tax evader and drug dealer helped to establish a largely unregulated chemical company that benefitted from the federal stimulus but apparently did little in the way of preventive maintenance and set the stage for large-scale drinking water contamination.

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The once and future Nonny

"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#12 Spectacles

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 09:50 AM

Yep. Corruption is rampant--everywhere, but especially in West Virginia and other poor states:

Quote

Kennedy's involvement in Freedom Industries, the Gazette notes, does not seem to have been affected by the fact that he had once pleaded guilty to selling cocaine in connection with a scandal that involved the mayor of Charleston. The paper quotes the current mayor, who is said to have known Kennedy since the 1980s, as an "edgy guy."

This is why we need regulations and enforcement of them. The corruption happens when there is "regulatory capture"--when the business owners buy friends in government agencies responsible for policing them.

Progressives can be overly optimistic about the abilities of government.
Conservatives can be overly optimistic about the abilities of business.

Neither entity is a bastion of morality and both are susceptible to corruption. But as long as "we the people" think that all we must do is empower one side over the other, the conditions for corruption remain pretty damned good.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#13 Spectacles

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 06:50 AM

http://www.newyorker...t-virginia.html

Quote

It was, apparently, no one’s job to regularly monitor Freedom Industries’ tanks along the Elk, even though state officials knew that hazardous chemicals were sitting near the West Virginia American Water intake. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources produced its most recent “Source Water” report on the site in 2002; it includes no reference to either M.C.M.H. or Freedom Industries. (Pennzoil used to occupy the site, according to reporting by Ken Ward in the West Virginia Gazette.) The state’s Department of Environmental Protection inspected the tanks in 1991, and found nothing amiss when, in 2010, it responded to a report of a licorice scent, or in 2012, when it updated its air-pollution oversight. The only permit issued by a state agency for the site governs stormwater runoff. Local officials have sometimes asked for new authority to plan for chemical spills, but those requests go nowhere in a state government that habitually defers to both coal and chemical companies.

On the federal level, before the spill, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration hadn’t inspected Freedom Industries, and the E.P.A. seems to have left matters entirely to state officials. Attacking federal environmental regulation is regarded as a safe bet in West Virginia state politics, where the coal industry’s war on the Obama Administration has become a local insurrection. Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin promised, in his last State of the State address, that he would “never back down from the E.P.A.” The state’s junior senator, Joe Manchin, a Democrat, was elected after he ran an ad in which he pumped a bullet into a copy of the (failed) 2010 cap-and-trade bill, to show his contempt for the regulation of coal. His comments on the spill have avoided talk of regulation or responsibility.

The entire crisis is a tableau of abdication: years of privatization and non-regulation followed by panic. It is an emergency, not least because inaction has insured that no one knows enough to say that it is not an emergency. The response thus far—issuing no-use orders for the water supply and mobilizing the national guard to distribute household water—is one of minimal government. A government that could have avoided the emergency would have to be much more confident and better resourced—just the kind of government the coal and chemical industries, and much of the state and national political establishment, have been dedicated to blocking and tearing down.

"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman



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