West Virginia Crude MCHM Spill
On January 9th, 2014, a spill of crude methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) was reported from Freedom Industries on the banks of the Elk River in Charleston, WV. The spill entered the river and flowed downstream to a nearby drinking water intake of West Virginia American Water. Approximately 7,500 gallons were reported to have spilled. More than 300,000 WV American Water customers were advised not to drink the water. Crude MCHM was stored at the Freedom Industries facility, for future use in the coal washing process. The drinking water ban was lifted in all service areas by January 17th. On January 21st, the public learned that a second chemical, “PPH”, was also spilled during the original spill. The CDC has recommended that pregnant women continue to drink bottled water. As of January 22nd, many customers are currently still reporting the sweet, licorice smell associated with the contamination, as well as skin irritation from coming in contact with the water.