#4 Charleston Gazette Mail

Kanawha River level

Two samples taken from the Kanawha River were below detectable levels for MCHM, and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health said it appears there were no impacts to drinking water after a spill of approximately 4 to 8 gallons of a solution containing the chemical was reported to WVDEP on Feb. 10 at the Mammoth Coal Preparation Plant.

Samples taken from the outfall discharging into West Hollow Creek, next to the Mammoth Coal Preparation Plant, have determined that a very small concentration of MCHM was present in the discharge on Saturday, Feb. 11.

The concentration of MCHM was 6.1 parts per million (ppm), well below both the Lethal Concentration Level and the Effective Concentration Level for aquatic life in West Hollow Creek.

The detected level was also below the levels for no observable effect on aquatic life.

The enforcement action associated with this incident, which initially included shutting down the outfall that drains a pond at the prep plant, is still in effect and will remain so until a full impact assessment is completed in West Hollow Creek.

The water in the pond is being maintained in a closed circuit at the site until samples confirm that no detectable levels of MCHM are present.

Kanawha County Emergency Management officials believe the spilled MCHM did not make it into the Kanawha River on Thursday. Officials say the chemical spilled onto concrete and was cleaned up by Mammoth Coal.

Based on their investigation, Kanawha County Emergency Management and West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection say there is no evidence that any chemical leaked into the water. Officials say they believe there is no evidence to indicate any hazard to the county.

As a precaution, samples of water were taken from the Kanawha River and from standing ponds nearby. It will take another few days to get the test samples back.

Officials say even if MCHM went in the river, the chemical would have dissipated and would not have been a problem, because it was a small spill.

Kanawha County Emergency Management officials say there's nothing in the law that requires a company to report an MCHM spill. Mommoth Coal did not report the Thursday spill.

Emergency management says they notified a water company in Cedar grove once they found out about the spill.

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Mammoth Coal Preparation Plant has reported to the Kanawha County Emergency Management approximately 8-9 gallons of MCHM was spilled into the Kanawha River on Thursday. Mammoth Coal says it has completely cleaned up the area.

West Virginia's DEP received a report of an additional spill at Mammoth Coal on Saturday. DEP and Kanawha County Emergency Management responded to the scene to investigate. Kanawha County EMS tells 13 News they found no evidence of a spill on Saturday.

However, residents in the area may still smell MCHM as Mammoth Coal will be using the chemical at the plant. Local fire departments have been notified of the reports and are prepared to assist if any incident occurs.

Source: www.tristateupdate.com
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