Elk River Chemical Spill Essay

Elk River Chemical Spill Essay

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On January 9th, 2014, it was reported that a chemical spill has occurred from a storage tank owned by Freedom Industries. The spill occurred on the banks of Elk River in West Virginia, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without tap water. The company first reported that 7500 gallons of the chemicals had spilled into the river through a one-inch whole but had found that two weeks later, there was an estimated 10000 gallons of the toxic chemical in the river. The chemicals released include 4-methylcyclohexane (MCHM) and PPH. Methylcyclohexane is a chemical that is used in coal to reduce the amount of ash it produces(Field & Catherine, 2014). The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection are still calculating the exact amount of how much of the chemicals were spilled.
Freedom Industries is a service provider of specialty industrial chemicals for mining, steel, and cement. The company was founded in 1986 by Gary Southern and Carl L. Kennedy and is also a producer of freeze conditioning agents, water treatment polymers, dust control palliatives and other chemicals (Freedom Industries, 2005). The chemical that was released into the water supply is known as methylcyclohexane (MCHM) and not much is known about the potential health risks of exposure to the chemical.(The Associated Press, 2014). However, there is no guarantee that there are no long term health effects caused by the chemical since regulators do not have adequate data (The Associated Press, 2014).
Those affected by the spill are the residents near Elk River who depend on the river's water supply. Many restaurants, hotels and local businesses are forced to close since residents are not able to access tap water other than for flushing toilets. Locals are fo...


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...s Home. Retrieved April 9, 2014 from http://www.freedom-industries.com/home.html
John Raby (2014). Elk River Chemical Spill In West Virginia Prompts State Of Emergency Declaration. Retrieved from, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/09/elk-river-chemical-spill-wv_n_4571408.html
The Associated Press (2014). West Virginia Chemical Spill: Water ban could last days. Retrieved from, http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/west-virginia-chemical-spill-water-ban-could-last-days-1.2493551
Meridith Edwards, Alexandra Field & Shiochet Catherine (2014). West Virginia chemical spill shines spotlight on loose regulation. CNN. Retrieved from, http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/13/us/west-virigina-chemical-contamination
John Raby (2014). W. Va. National Guard set to help distribute water. Yahoo News. Retrieved from, http://news.yahoo.com/w-va-national-guard-set-help-distribute-water-092412829.html

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