MENU
component-ddb-728x90-v1-01-desktop

DEP says bullet holes cause chemical leak; two violation notices issued

Environmental regulators said they plan to issue two notices of violation after a chemical leak in Eastern Kanawha County that was caused by two small caliber bullet holes in a tank. (Bing Map)

Environmental regulators said they plan to issue two notices of violation after a chemical leak in Eastern Kanawha County that was caused by two small caliber bullet holes in a tank.

The tank, located in Belcher Hollow near Sanderson, was holding a solution containing 20 percent sodium hydroxide, according to a news release from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

No fish kill has been observed in the leak reported Monday morning ,and the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health has said there is believed to be no effect on drinking water, the DEP said. The nearest public water intake is more than 30 miles downstream, on the Elk River in Charleston.

The exact time of the incident is under investigation, but is believed to have occurred sometime since the evening of Thursday, March 16.

The tank was holding a solution containing 20 percent sodium hydroxide. The tank was set up to treat acid mine drainage in the area. The sodium hydroxide normally entered treatment ponds at a controlled rate, but because of the vandalism the sodium hydroxide entered the treatment ponds uncontrolled causing excessive pH.

The storage tank was registered to ERP Environmental Fund Inc. WVDEP Division of Mining and Reclamation (DMR) inspectors found that the tank is currently registered to a ERP subsidiary.

The DEP said it will issue two notices of violation: one for inadequate secondary containment and one for exceeding effluent limits for pH. Initial in stream testing indicated pH remained in compliance.

The DEP said the state Department of Health and Human Resources, Kanawha County Emergency Services, and West Virginia American Water were all made aware of the situation.

Metro 911 said state environmental crews and county emergency management personnel are responding to a chemical spill in Blue Creek.

An emergency dispatcher said 1,000 gallons of sodium hydroxide (lye) spilled about 11 a.m. Monday at the DRP mine site.

The Department of Environmental Protection and Kanawha County Emergency Management are en route.

Metro 911 said there is no risk right now, and officials do not know if the chemical made it into the stream. The accident happened about 31 miles from the water intake.

Blue Creek is located northeast of Elkview.

Trending