The release of an unknown amount of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol from the Freedom Industries chemical storage facility along the Elk River in Kanawha County has led to the declaration of a state of emergency and left roughly 300,000 West Virginians without water in 9 counties. WVDEP officials estimate that between 2,000 and 5,000 gallons of the chemical, used in the coal treatment process, was released into the river. The West Virginia American Water treatment plant – roughly 1.5 miles downriver from the Freedom Industries site – became overwhelmed by the chemical, leading to contamination of the finished water product. Customers in the affected areas can use their tap water only for flushing and firefighting. No timeline has been announced for water restoration.
Here are links to some of the best resources to date to learn more about what can only be described as a crisis for area residents. All content and opinions are of the respective authors.
· A story from the Charleston Gazette detailing more about the particular chemical released.
· At least eight class-action lawsuits have already been filed in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County just one day after the leak.
· After a rush by residents to stores for water and supplies, and reports of price gouging, the West Virginia Attorney General issued a warning for price inflation.
· Filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon’s take.
· An account from the Charleston Gazette regarding the WVDEP’s actions thus far.
· Hundreds of residents reporting symptoms of exposure, with “up to 10” having been hospitalized.