Broken sewer line above WVAW water plant

This account is from last Friday’s Charleston Gazette:

A yellow stain in the Elk River on Friday was caused by water-based paint that burst from a pressurized sewer line in the river, state and city officials said. The stain originated about half a mile upriver from West Virginia American Water’s treatment plant in Charleston.

Mike Dorsey, chief of homeland security for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the liquid that spewed from a small geyser in the river was paint. Workers at the city’s paint shop across the river had been washing out a paint truck.

“They were allowed to discharge that stuff into the sewer, but the sewer line broke,” he said. “Therein lies the problem.”

The paint is OK in the sewer system, Dorsey said, “It’s just not supposed to be in the river.”

He said the city estimates that about three to five gallons of paint was discharged.

And this time, WVAW appears to have responded appropriately to the threat to its intake:

West Virginia American shut down its Elk River treatment plant at about noon, after being notified by Kanawha County Metro 911 and assessing how much water was available in the water company’s system, spokeswoman Laura Jordan said in a statement around 2 p.m.

“Ongoing testing at the treatment [plant] shows no change in water quality,” Jordan said.

A spokeswoman from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources said the Bureau for Public Health was monitoring the situation and that the water company was taking extra samples of raw water.

In a later statement, Jordan said the treatment plant had returned to regular service at 4:30 p.m. and was using additional powdered activated carbon for treatment

“No water use restrictions are necessary,” Jordan said. “Water treatment plants are designed to treat water sources with the potential for sewage outfalls, and proper disinfection levels are effective in killing harmful bacteria.”
She said the plant was doing more testing for bacteria, pH and conductivity.

The paint was not a threat, because, while it was very visible, not very much had leaked.  WVAW’s focus was, correctly, on the bacteria that was in the sewage water.  But there is a question here, just as there was with the Freedom Industries spill.  How long was the pipe leaking before the paint revealed the leak on the surface of the Elk River?

The sewage line leak also revealed something about source water protection planning on the Elk River.  Most analysts look at source water protection in terms of land based sources of chemical contamination.  None of the reports on source water protection in the Elk River Valley, including the WV Bureau for Public Health’s pathetic 2002 Source Water Assessment Report, identified pipes, sewage and otherwise, that cross the river as possible sources of contamination.  Is there an inventory of underwater pipes across the Elk River?  What is their condition?  What do they contain?

It seems that pipelines actually in the river are as much as a threat to WVAW’s water intake as chemical threats further up the watershed.  The yellow paint incident is another wake up call about threats to our water supply that needs to be addressed.

West Virginia American shut down its Elk River treatment plant at about noon, after being notified by Kanawha County Metro 911 and assessing how much water was available in the water company’s system, spokeswoman Laura Jordan said in a statement around 2 p.m.

“Ongoing testing at the treatment [plant] shows no change in water quality,” Jordan said.

A spokeswoman from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources said the Bureau for Public Health was monitoring the situation and that the water company was taking extra samples of raw water.

In a later statement, Jordan said the treatment plant had returned to regular service at 4:30 p.m. and was using additional powdered activated carbon for treatment

“No water use restrictions are necessary,” Jordan said. “Water treatment plants are designed to treat water sources with the potential for sewage outfalls, and proper disinfection levels are effective in killing harmful bacteria.”

She said the plant was doing more testing for bacteria, pH and conductivity.

- See more at: http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141114/GZ01/141119537#sthash.4BF3s5sK.dpuf

A yellow stain in the Elk River on Friday was caused by water-based paint that burst from a pressurized sewer line in the river, state and city officials said. The stain originated about half a mile upriver from West Virginia American Water’s treatment plant in Charleston.
Mike Dorsey, chief of homeland security for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the liquid that spewed from a small geyser in the river was paint. Workers at the city’s paint shop across the river had been washing out a paint truck.
“They were allowed to discharge that stuff into the sewer, but the sewer line broke,” he said. “Therein lies the problem.”
The paint is OK in the sewer system, Dorsey said, “It’s just not supposed to be in the river.”
He said the city estimates that about three to five gallons of paint was discharged.
A yellow stain in the Elk River on Friday was caused by water-based paint that burst from a pressurized sewer line in the river, state and city officials said. The stain originated about half a mile upriver from West Virginia American Water’s treatment plant in Charleston.
Mike Dorsey, chief of homeland security for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the liquid that spewed from a small geyser in the river was paint. Workers at the city’s paint shop across the river had been washing out a paint truck.
“They were allowed to discharge that stuff into the sewer, but the sewer line broke,” he said. “Therein lies the problem.”
The paint is OK in the sewer system, Dorsey said, “It’s just not supposed to be in the river.”
He said the city estimates that about three to five gallons of paint was discharged.
A yellow stain in the Elk River on Friday was caused by water-based paint that burst from a pressurized sewer line in the river, state and city officials said. The stain originated about half a mile upriver from West Virginia American Water’s treatment plant in Charleston.

Mike Dorsey, chief of homeland security for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the liquid that spewed from a small geyser in the river was paint. Workers at the city’s paint shop across the river had been washing out a paint truck.

“They were allowed to discharge that stuff into the sewer, but the sewer line broke,” he said. “Therein lies the problem.”

The paint is OK in the sewer system, Dorsey said, “It’s just not supposed to be in the river.”

He said the city estimates that about three to five gallons of paint was discharged.
- See more at: http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141114/GZ01/141119537#sthash.4BF3s5sK.dpuf

A yellow stain in the Elk River on Friday was caused by water-based paint that burst from a pressurized sewer line in the river, state and city officials said. The stain originated about half a mile upriver from West Virginia American Water’s treatment plant in Charleston.

Mike Dorsey, chief of homeland security for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the liquid that spewed from a small geyser in the river was paint. Workers at the city’s paint shop across the river had been washing out a paint truck.

“They were allowed to discharge that stuff into the sewer, but the sewer line broke,” he said. “Therein lies the problem.”

The paint is OK in the sewer system, Dorsey said, “It’s just not supposed to be in the river.”

He said the city estimates that about three to five gallons of paint was discharged.
- See more at: http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141114/GZ01/141119537#sthash.4BF3s5sK.dpuf

A yellow stain in the Elk River on Friday was caused by water-based paint that burst from a pressurized sewer line in the river, state and city officials said. The stain originated about half a mile upriver from West Virginia American Water’s treatment plant in Charleston.

Mike Dorsey, chief of homeland security for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the liquid that spewed from a small geyser in the river was paint. Workers at the city’s paint shop across the river had been washing out a paint truck.

“They were allowed to discharge that stuff into the sewer, but the sewer line broke,” he said. “Therein lies the problem.”

The paint is OK in the sewer system, Dorsey said, “It’s just not supposed to be in the river.”

He said the city estimates that about three to five gallons of paint was discharged.

- See more at: http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141114/GZ01/141119537#sthash.4BF3s5sK.dpuf

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