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WV chemical spill effects water supply


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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Emergency officials in Kanawha County are now urging residents not to use their water due to a chemical leak.

The warning applies to people living in Boone, Kanawha, Lincoln, Putnam and Jackson counties.

Do not drink, use, bathe with, cook with or do laundry with water from West Virginia American Water.

The only thing that you can use it for at this time is to flush the toilet or for fire protection.



It was unclear how much of the product (4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol) spilled, and how much the company has stored at the site. The company has approval to store up to a million pounds of the product. 


The Elk river then joins the Kanawha River and flows through Kanawha, Putnam, and Mason counties, past the cities of Charleston and St. Albans, and numerous smaller communities. It joins the Ohio at Point Pleasant. The river then flows down to Ohio River and then into the Mississippi River. 



 This effects Kanawha, Putnam, Jackson, Clay, Lincoln, Logan, Roane, and Boone counties, as well as customers in the area of Culloden in Cabell County,



We are upstream of the spill and use well water. 

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Glad to see you are out of the spill zone, was concerned for you.  Now I'll be concerned for the remaining multi 1000s of folks.  Our local water company lost 2 wells to hurricane Irene a couple years ago plus a main distribution line system down for a couple months.  We too live with a well, a 797' well! 




re read the post not out of the zone at all.

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Apparently there was a toxic chemical spill in Charleston, W. VA. this past week wherein the city's water supply was contaminated.  The news report indicated the chemical is one used to "treat coal".  Why in the world would coal need to be treated...for home heating or what?  


I assume that most of the blacksmithing coal we all use comes straight from the mines with the only processing being crushing and/or sorting.  The coal I'm using comes straight from a strip mine operation and is not treated.


This post was moved to this thread as it is a part of this subject. 

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Coal from the mine may contain many things, rocks, machinery parts, dirt, etc. The preparation plant crushes the coal and separates it according to size, washes the coal to separate it from the rocks etc. It is then dewatered and stockpiled for shipment.


More on the first minutes of the spill 

the DEP officials said,they saw a 4-foot-wide stream of chemicals heading for the containment area's wall, and disappearing into the joint between the dike's wall and floor. Pressure from the material leaking out of the tank created what DEP officials called an "up-swelling," or an artesian well, like a fountain of chemical coming up from the pool.

Initially, no one saw the chemical pouring into the Elk River. DEP officials say that part of the river still had a layer of ice on top, which made the spill difficult to notice.


The chemical storage facility leaked 7,500 gallons of a chemical called Crude MCHM into the Elk River.

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First, thanks for moving my post to the proper thread...I had not noticed the existing one.


Back to my original question, why does coal have to be treated with any chemicals (toxic ones at that)?  Crushing and sorting are mechanical, heat or other drying can dewater can't it?  Not living in coal country, I am not familiar with coal processing.  I only burn it  :)

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  • 5 weeks later...

Coal (as mined) is a mixture of coal, dirt, rocks, etc, everything in the seam and a little above and below the seam trying to get it all.  They add a foaming agent to *float* the coal and remove it from the top while removing the rocks from the bottom of the mix. Clean coal is the result.

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