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Chemical leak in West Virginia source

Public Affairs Advisory

Who: AWWA utilities
What: Chemical leak in West Virginia source water
When: Today

Water utilities should be aware of a chemical leak in the Charleston, West Virginia, area that has caused local authorities to issue a broad “do not use” order. According to multiple reports, the leak is from a 48,000-gallon storage tank along the Elk River, which holds the coal-washing chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol.

West Virginia American Water Co., which supplies water in the area, issued a statement today reporting that “Water quality specialists also continue to monitor both raw and finished water and crews will conduct flushing throughout the distribution system.”

Nine directly affected counties have been declared a state of emergency; 300,000 area residents have been affected. According to CNN, the National Guard and the Office of Emergency Services are working quickly to provide water and supplies to area residents. Hospitals, nursing homes and schools are currently their top priorities to supply.
The incident may prompt media or customer questions about what steps your utility is taking to be prepared for such an occurrence. The following resources are available from AWWA to assist with potential inquiries and to review recommendations for emergency preparedness:

Planning for an Emergency Water Supply (USEPA-NHSRC & AWWA)
Emergency Water Supply Planning for Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities (CDC & AWWA)
All-Hazard Consequence Management Planning for the Water Sector 
Business Continuity Planning for Water Utilities (Water Research Foundation, AWWA, USEPA)
Decontamination and Recovery Planning (USEPA)
Planning for and Responding to Contamination Threats to Drinking Water Systems Modules (USEPA)
Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water (USEPA, for consumers)
Questions? Please email Greg Kail, AWWA director of communications.

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