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Second WVRC/Downstream Strategies Report Reveals Extent of Water Threat In Charleston

posted Feb 24, 2014, 9:29 AM by Web Editor   [ updated Feb 24, 2014, 8:40 PM ]

New Report: Potential Contaminant Sources to Charleston Drinking Water Intake Greater Than First Imagined

Full report available here:


Charleston, WV – The West Virginia Rivers Coalition and Downstream Strategies will release a report to the Governor and State Legislature today that provides a preliminary assessment of sites that, if improperly managed, could contaminate West Virginia American Water’s Charleston drinking water intake.

The report, “Potential Significant Contaminant Sources above West Virginia American Water’s Charleston Intake: A Preliminary Assessment,” is a follow-up to one issued by the authors immediately after the January 9 chemical leak. That first report, “The Freedom Industries Spill: Lessons Learned and Needed Reforms,” brought wide public attention to the regulatory failures at the heart of the water crisis and outlined needed reforms.

“Our goal is to provide data and information so that state leaders can make the most informed decisions possible to prevent future spills and to upgrade the protection of public water intakes across the state,” says Evan Hansen, president of Downstream Strategies.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health provided a list of 62 potential significant contaminant sources that could quickly impact the Charleston drinking water intake. The new report outlines the character of these sites and if and how they are regulated. 

The source water assessment report that originally identified potential significant contaminant sources for the Charleston intake was completed in 2002. The Downstream Strategies/Rivers Coalition report points out additional facilities that warrant further research to determine if they pose a substantial risk to the drinking water supply.

“Citizens question why facilities such as the Freedom site are allowed to be located immediately upstream from drinking water intakes,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. “This report is a next step in understanding all of the threats to our water and what needs to be done to make sure we are better protected from the wide range of potential hazards.”