Surprise Disclosure: Another Toxic Chemical May Have Spilled Into West Virginia Water

By Terrell Johnson
Published: January 23, 2014

A second toxic chemical may also have contaminated West Virginia's Elk River during the chemical spill earlier this month that left more than 300,000 people without drinking water.

Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the spill, raised the ire of federal and state officials with the surprise disclosure Wednesday that about 300 gallons of a chemical known as PPH also were in the tank that ruptured and leaked Jan. 9, spilling a coal-cleaning chemical known as Crude MCHM into the river.

The company didn't disclose the chemical until Wednesday, after it was ordered to do so by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

“Having this revelation so late in the game is completely unacceptable,” Randy Huffman, cabinet secretary for West Virginia's Deptartment of Environmental Protection, said in a news release Wednesday. “We have ordered Freedom to reveal any other information they have regarding the contents of the tank that leaked.”

“Having to order them to provide such obvious information is indicative of the continued decline of their credibility,” he added.

Natalie Tennant, West Virginia's secretary of state, called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to post test results of the Elk River's water quality online, so residents in the nine affected counties can see for themselves how officials are determining whether the water is safe to drink or not.

“It is very disturbing that we are just now finding out about this new chemical almost two weeks after the leak,” Tennant said in a news release Wednesday. “And with this new information West Virginians are right to raise even more questions about the safety of their drinking water."

Read the full story at the Charleston Gazette.


MORE: Recovery After Chemical Spill

Al Jones of the West Virginia department of General Services tests the water as he flushes the faucet and opens a rest room on the first floor of the State Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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