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January 31, 2014 | By David Zucchino
The top public health official in Charleston, W. Va., has added to widespread criticism of the decision to declare drinking water safe despite a critical lack of scientific data about the coal-washing chemical that spilled into the Elk River on Jan. 9. Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, the largest in West Virginia, said in an interview Friday that the water can't be considered completely safe because scientists don't...
January 17, 2014 | By David Zucchino
Bombarded by lawsuits and under federal investigation, the chemical company that spilled a dangerous solvent into a West Virginia river and fouled the drinking water of 300,000 people filed for federal bankruptcy protection Friday. Freedom Industries Inc., owner of a storage tank that ruptured Jan. 9 and spilled 7,500 gallons of a coal-treatment foaming agent called MCHM into the Elk River, sought protection from creditors under a Chapter 11 filing by its parent company, Chemstream Holdings Inc. of Pennsylvania.
January 16, 2014 | By David Zucchino
Few people in West Virginia had any idea that an obscure company was storing a mysterious coal-washing chemical in tanks overlooking the Elk River, just upstream from a major water treatment plant. Nor did many realize that no agency had conducted regular inspections of those tanks, even though they are perched on a steep bank that tumbles down to the river northeast of downtown Charleston. On the morning of Jan. 9, residents complained about a licorice-like odor wafting from the site, operated by a chemical company with the unlikely name of Freedom Industries.
January 15, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
BNSF Railway has pleaded no contest to criminal charges and agreed to pay $140,000 in penalties, medical expenses and emergency response costs stemming from a 2012 spill of hazardous chemicals near the Port of Los Angeles, the city attorney announced this week. The rail company had failed to report the June 23, 2012, spill and created a public nuisance when several drums in a cargo container it was transporting leaked phenol, cresylic acid and other corrosive chemicals, City Atty.
January 13, 2014 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats on Monday called for a hearing into "regulatory gaps" highlighted by a chemical spill that has contaminated the water supply to 300,000 West Virginia residents. "As we begin to consider ideas to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act, it is critically important that we understand how the law allowed a potentially harmful chemical to remain virtually untested for nearly 40 years," Reps. Henry A. Waxman of Beverly Hills, top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.)
January 13, 2014 | By Ralph Vartabedian
About 400,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from 18 rail cars after after a Dec. 30 derailment near Casselton, N.D., the National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary investigation report Monday. An ensuing explosion sent a massive mushroom cloud of fire above the prairie and forced the evacuation of 1,400 residents. Damage was estimated at $6.1 million, the NTSB said. The accident occurred when a BNSF Railway grain train derailed on the  westbound tracks, obstructing the eastbound tracks less than a minute before the 106-car oil train arrived.
January 11, 2014 | By Saba Hamedy
West Virginia health officials said Saturday that several people have been admitted to hospitals for chemical-related symptoms following a solvent leak into the area's water supply that has left more than 300,000 residents unable to use tap water. Seventy-three people have gone to area emergency rooms since the spill late Thursday and four have been admitted with symptoms such as skin irritation and nausea, Secretary Karen Bowling of the Department of Health and Human Resources said at a news conference in Charleston.
January 11, 2014 | By Davd Zucchino
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - For the third straight day, more than 300,000 residents of West Virginia were unable to use their tap water because of a state of emergency declared after a chemical solvent leaked into the area's water supply late Thursday. As authorities on Saturday worked to flush pipes that supply water to Charleston and nine counties in the state, officials said they could still not estimate when the water would be safe to drink. Thousands of residents lined up in a driving rain Saturday morning to collect bottled water or to fill containers with drinking water supplied by emergency management agencies.
January 11, 2014 | By David Zucchino
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - For the third straight day, with more ahead, about 300,000 residents of West Virginia were unable to use their tap water because a chemical solvent leaked into the area's water supply Thursday. As authorities on Saturday worked to flush pipes that supply water to Charleston and nine counties in the state, officials said it will take several days to properly test the water to ensure it is safe to drink. “I would think we're talking days," West Virginia American Water Company president Jeff McIntyre told reporters Saturday afternoon.
January 10, 2014 | By David Zucchino and Michael Muskal
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Hundreds of thousands of West Virginia residents have been left dry with no idea when they will be able to again trust the water from their taps after a chemical used in the processing of coal spilled into a river. As state and federal agencies rushed emergency water supplies to nine stricken counties, officials were promising to investigate how the chemical, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, spilled into the Elk River. It flowed into a water treatment facility about 1.5 miles away, and officials worried it could have polluted water eventually sent to about 300,000 residents.
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