Elk River Water Conditions
Late Thursday Night rains have moved away from Central WV in general and the Elk River Valley in particular. That information is especially pertinent given the "small" scale spill at Freedom Industries in Charleston that occurred on Thursday.
The press release from DEP that describes the spill is enclosed below.
For now, I offer my take of the water conditions on the river after this week's rains.
A close inspection of the hydrograph of the Elk's flow and water level at Queen Shoals predicts nearly a 1.5 to 2 foot rise on the river heading into the weekend in response to this week's 1 to 2 inches of rain in the Elk Valley. Queen Shoals in Northern Kanawha County is just east of Clendenin and close to the Clay County line. It is here that the last official gauge on the Elk is located.
By normal June standards, that rise on the river would translate to a muddy "tide" of water heading downstream from Sutton Dam through Queen Shoals all the way pass Freedom Industries to the mouth of the Elk on the Great Kanawha in downtown Charleston.
With that rise in water, a proportional increase in river flow can be expected. Elk River fishermen and boaters would be especially cautious of the higher water levels and freer flowing waters after rains like this week's.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Another spill at the Freedom Industries site Thursday night caused what the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection described as "a small but undetermined amount of water" spilling into the Elk River.
However, the DEP said it wasn't clear yet clear whether the water that went into the river contained crude MCHM, the material that spilled at the site on January 9th and caused a water crisis for 300,000 people in West Virginia.
The DEP said one of its inspectors noticed water overflowing from a containment trench at the site about 5 p.m.
In a statement released Thursday night, the DEP reported that a sump pump in place to pump overflow to a storage tank at the site had stopped working and that the inspector restarted the pump, which stopped the overflow.
The DEP had inspectors at the Freedom Industries site Thursday night.
The agency said inspectors were taking samples of the water from the trench, as well as at the intake at West Virginia American Water Company’s treatment plant and of the treated water. Those samples will be tested at multiple labs, with results expected by Friday morning.
There were no odors reported at the site on Thursday.
DEP Inspectors have been at the site daily to monitor the cleanup work and the containment facilities.