Thursday, January 30, 2014

West Virginia Water Testing Results

The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security Emergency Management now has Operational Sampling Results listed on their webpage, as well as other documents relating to the spill response.

According to the documents:

1. All Lab results are recorded in parts per million (ppm). 
2. CDC Health Threshold is 1 part per million (1,000 parts per billion). 
3. Samples reported in this Tracking Log are tested to a level of 10 parts per billion (ppb). Lab results are reflected in parts per million (ppm).
4. Any Lab result below 10 parts per billion (ppb) is reflected as Non Detected (ND).

The thing I am not seeing is a document explaining how they are performing the tests and anything on QA/QC.

Ken Ward was on NPR's Fresh Air Talking about Chemical Leak in West Virginia - January 29th

This interview is well worth a listen. It gives you an up close look at what was and is going on concerning the chemical spill and the actions of state and federal agencies following the incident.

Interview Highlights

On how the chemical leak was discovered
Some people who live in that part of town called in both to the metro 911 — the county emergency operation center — and to the state Department of Environmental Protection complaints of an odor, that they smelled some sort of a strong licorice odor in the air.

The Department of Environmental Protection sent a couple of air quality inspectors out and ... when they first went there they were told by company officials, "No, we're not having any problems. What are you talking about?" They asked to tour the site. The inspectors went out and they noticed there was a problem at one of the tanks. They described to me a 400-square-foot, 3- to 4-inch-deep pool of this chemical that had leaked out of a hole in the tank, and a 4-foot-wide stream of this stuff that was pouring across the containment area ... and it was kind of disappearing ... into the river. ... Much of the Elk River was frozen over so you couldn't immediately see that it was in the river.

The problem that arises from that is that Freedom Industries [the company that owns the chemical storage tanks] had a permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection — a storm water permit, a permit to govern runoff from its facility. One of the requirements of that permit is that they immediately report any spills. The Department of Environmental Protection says they didn't report this spill to the state and the fact that they didn't report it immediately delayed some efforts at containing the spill and certainly affected the size of it and made the situation worse than it necessarily had to be.

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