Streamline - Spring 2014 - (Page 23)

Source Water Protection Notes the chemical spill in West Virginia is a stark reminder of the importance of source water protection planning for all water systems. Among other things, source water protection plans should note potential sources of contamination for water sources, should include mandatory steps to be taken to report incidents and notify authorities immediately if an incident occurs, and should outline contamination mitigation strategies for when incidents might occur. Contingency plans ought to be frequently reviewed with those whose activities could result in a contamination incident so they will be likely to respond appropriately when the need arises. Contingency responses need to be swift and effective. RECENT NEWS OF BY JOEY FAGAN, SOURCE WATER PROTECTION SPECIALIST Taking steps to plan for these contingencies by having a functional and updated source water protection plan can go a long way to prevent problems while maintaining the support and confidence of the citizens. The recent West Virginia contamination event occurred on the morning of Jan. 9, 2014, when an estimated 10,000 gallons of Crude 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) was accidentally released through a 1-inch hole in the stainless steel storage tank for the chemical, coupled with a failure of secondary containment structures to contain the spill. Crude MCHM is produced by the Eastman Chemical Company and is primarily used as a foaming agent in the cleaning of coal used for metallurgical purposes (coking coal). After flowing from the tank and containment structure, the Crude MCHM entered the ground and continued its flow underground through the soil until it entered the Elk River. The storage tank facility, owned by Freedom Industries, is located about one and a half miles upstream from where the Elk River flows into the Kanawha River. There is some question about just how much of the chemical actually entered the river, but it was enough that nearby residents started to complain about the smell as early as 7 to 8 a.m. West Virginia Department of Environment Protection staff arrived at the site at 11:05 a.m. Freedom Industries representatives said their employees discovered the leak at around 10:30 a.m., but they waited until 12:05 p.m. (after WVDEP staff were already on site) before officially reporting the spill. The site of the spill was only a little more than a mile upstream from the West Virginia American Water's drinking water intake and treatment plant and distribution center, also on the Elk River. Initially, the water treatment plant operators hoped they could remove the MCHM with carbon filtration as part of their treatment process, but their ability to remove the chemical using that method soon failed, resulting in contaminated water being distributed throughout their system. The incident resulted in a state of emergency being declared in nine West Virginia counties and issuance of a "Do Not Drink" to approximately 300,000 residences and businesses that remained in place for five days or more, with many customers questioning the safety of their tap water even after the order was lifted. The above example of a contamination issue is due to industrial activity, but other contamination events could be related to agriculture, urban land use, railroad or highway accidents, and pipeline incidents. Many incidents can be prevented, but the reality is that accidents and incidents will continue to occur from time to time. Taking steps to plan for these contingencies by having a functional and updated source water protection plan can go a long way to prevent problems while maintaining the support and confidence of the citizens who are our customers. 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2014

From the President
From the Executive Director
The Importance of an Immediate Response
What’s New in UV?
Proper Disposal of Pharmacy Products
Source Water Protection Notes
Ergs, Joules and Other Stuff
Establishing a Water Distribution System Flushing Program
Wastewater Math
Curtis Water Wins Big in D.C.
Throwing My Loop: Friends to Keep You Warm
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
VRWA Mailbag
Welcome New Members
Training Calendar
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/

Streamline - Spring 2014