Guyandotte River Pollution: Huntington Sanitary Board and Huntington Apparently Have Questions, Challenges Reference Clean Water

Updated 1 year ago by Tony Rutherford, Editor, (c) 2013 by Tony E Rutherford & HNN Attribution Permitted
Guyandotte River Pollution: Huntington Sanitary Board and Huntington Apparently Have Questions, Challenges Reference Clean Water

Huntington's waters could have faced a possible "toxic" release, according to documents released by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to a Freedom of Information Request by HNN. The questions concerned the nature of substance found in discharges, whether or not they were contained or not contained to the waste treatment process.

Although by law the industry is required to report a "spill," the documents indicate that an HSB supervisor verified the chemical through phone contact with a representative of Huntington Alloys. It is at this time unknown if an independent sample was taken of the discharge, which was apparently contained to the waste treatment facility and its infrastructure.

HSB employees were, according to the documents, kept away from pumps for 12-18 hours until the chemical diluted.

Guyandotte River Pollution: Huntington Sanitary Board and Huntington Apparently Have Questions, Challenges Reference Clean Water

On September 1, 2013 the Herald Dispatch published a story detailing a Draft Consent Order for various violations at Huntington Alloys, including a reference to the Pickle Plant.

The West Virginia DEP received a letter September 13, 2013 from HSB dated March 22, 2013 from Scott Queen, lift station supervisor, and sent to Charlene DeBord, pretreatment supervisor,  concerning the Pats Branch incident.

Queen told an employee that such a spill did NOT have to be reported to WV DEP.

“Someone called DEP and they are investigating it. [I told him] unless we spill we do not need to report to DEP that is not their concern,” Queen wrote.

Guyandotte River Pollution: Huntington Sanitary Board and Huntington Apparently Have Questions, Challenges Reference Clean Water

Instead of the spill, the letter continues expressing concern that DEP had been notified unnecessarily.

Since the HSB did not “divert” water into state water that day, “a call to the DEP was not constituted since we did not spill".

Weather conditions on March 13, 2013 in Huntington had temperatures in the low 30s and overcast skies with light snow. A heavy rain pattern occurred  after the spill date resulting in river intrusions into Sanitary Board pump stations.

WHO REPORTED TO WV DEP?

Queen told DeBord, "I am certain that I did not file a report for this incident but the others I cannot be sure about. There would have been no need for a report since we did not discharge to the waters of the State.”

However, the Ohio River overflowed into the Pat’s Creek station on March 13, 2013, the spill date, at 5:02 p.m. for 56 seconds. On March 18, 2013 from 10;16 a.m. until March 22, 2013 at 6:15 river water flooded the Pat’s Creek station.  Two diversion events are reported on March 18 and March 19 apparently due to rainfall.

Guyandotte River Pollution: Huntington Sanitary Board and Huntington Apparently Have Questions, Challenges Reference Clean Water

A column labeled alarm result is marked as “?”.

COULD HAVE BEEN TOXIC

Ed Romans sent an email March 20, 2013 at 11:49 a.m. which also  went to then HSB executive director, Kit Anderson. In the e-mail, he stated since “we were not experiencing overflows” (at the time of the Huntington Alloys spill). He continued, “At this point, we had no reason to reason to believe this was a toxic spill… as an employee safety precaution , we asked [they} stay out of the [Pat’s Branch] system and inform all crews to stay out of water downstream until we determined what was going on.”

Romans, too, expressed strong concerns that the “spill” had been reported to WV DEP and US EPA.

“This incident will be handled by the Office of Pretreatment and we anticipate that all employees will be educated in the proper way to report spills to protect the environment. If there has been a false report filed with WV DEP and now the Federal Government, we need to  take this seriously and address the issue,” Romans wrote.

Guyandotte River Pollution: Huntington Sanitary Board and Huntington Apparently Have Questions, Challenges Reference Clean Water

Charlene DeBord stated that unnecessarily reporting to WV DEP “challenges my integrity and industry integrity.” She called the apparent State and Federal reporting unethical, and intolerable insubordination.


 

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