Chemical Safety Board Briefs Senate Committee on Chemical Leak

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A chemical leak that contaminated the water earlier this month is the focus of a West Virginia Senate hearing on Friday.

Several members of the Chemical Safety Board spoke at a Joint Legislative Oversight Commission hearing in Charleston.

On January 9, thousands of gallons of MCHM leaked from a tank at Freedom Industries into the Elk River. A state of emergency was declared for residents in nine counties and thousands of West Virginia American Water customers in those counties were under a "do not use" ban. Freedom also released this week that another chemical PPH was also released into the water.

CSB Chairperson Moure-Eraso says this isn't the first time the CSB has been to the area. "This is the CSB's third deployment to a major chemical accident," Moure-Eraso said.

Moure-Eraso says the CSB will examine the chemical faculties near the water source.

CSB Chairman and Investigator Johnnie Banks say, "We have submitted extensive document requests for the site drawings, tank and dike specifications."

Investigators Banks says the CSB will be examining the effectiveness of the secondary containment wall.

"We look at this as a warning to other communities. We want to prevent it from happening again," Banks said. "There are detection systems that can monitor a potential leak. We will be examining the use of such systems at Freedom Industries."

Banks told the committee, "They shouldn't be in drinking water period. At any level." when talking about MCHM and PPH.

The CSB says the investigation into the leak continues.

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