CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection said chemical storage facilities in West Virginia should have to be certified but, right now, Randy Huffman said that is not the case.

“When you have people living in close proximity to industrial activity, you’ve got to have those protections,” Huffman said.

An estimated 7,500 gallons of crude MCHM, made up primarily of 4-methylcylohexane methane, leaked from a 40,000 gallon, 50-year old storage tank at Freedom Industries along the Elk River in Charleston last week.

The leaked chemical, which also made it through a secondary containment system, was found on Thursday morning.

By Thursday night, West Virginia American Water Company had issued the do-not-use order as a precaution in parts of nine West Virginia counties forcing an estimated 300,000 West Virginians to spend days using alternate water sources.

Currently, Huffman said there is no requirement for such storage facilities to be inspected.  He said he expects state lawmakers to address regulations for similar sites during the ongoing regular legislative session.  Huffman said Governor Earl Ray Tomblin supports such a proposal.

“For this type of facility, the administrative processes, the records, the certifications, those types of processes are much more important for minimizing the risk of leaks and so forth because, with tanks, you can’t always see a leak,” he said.

“Having a process in place, where we can get those certifications and deal with this from an administrative standpoint, gives us much better regulatory tools than just walking around the site.”

Investigators with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board were scheduled to arrive in Charleston on Monday to launch an investigation into the spill.

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Comments

  • Pavel

    I am not really suersirpd from the fact that Nadine Labaki won the "Celebrity of the year title". If we got back in time, we know that her movie "Caramel" put her on "Variety's 10 Directors to Look Out for List." Also, She also directed Nancy Ajram's video, Akhasmak Ah. Among many other interesting accomplishments she has done, which you can read on . Her last movie "Hala2 lawayn" was a great hit! Which I believe made her win the tittle.

  • HOSA

    JUST IN FROM WASHINGTON. HOUSE SPEAKER BOEHNER FROM OHIO SAID TUESDAY THAT NO NEW REGULATIONS ARE NEEDED AFTER THE CHEMIACL SPILL IN WEST VIRGINIA LAST WEEK LEFT MORE THAT 300,00 PEOPLE WITH WITHOUT SAFE TAP WATER. HE SUGGESTED THE INCIDENT WAS NOT A RESULT OF LESS ENVIRONMENTAL AND ENERGY REGULATION AND HE STATES THAT WE HAVE ENOUGH REGULATIONS ON THE BOOKS ALREADY. BOY OH, BOY.

  • WVWorker

    This is like closing the barn door after the horse is out.
    Mr. Huffman is not telling the truth. There are existing regulations on containment that should have prevented this from happening. Somebody violated the law and should be held accountable.
    His position seems to be "Lets all blame it on the legislators". There is no need to pass more regulations until you enforce the ones that are on the books now.

  • cutty77

    Way to jump on The Band Wagon Randy. Nothing slow about you. Your New Name is Flash,Ole Boss Hogs Dog Name.lol

    • sam

      How come you did not suggest this before the spill. I guess you were to busy counting your money from your high paying job in which as you can see that you are reactive not proactive. maybe you should run for public office!

  • RR

    Captain Hindsight is here to save the day

  • don burgess

    In 2009, West Virginia DEP Secretary Randy Huffman said "We are the environmental regulators here in West Virginia. We are the ones on the front line here. We are the ones responsible for protecting the environment. We have a very rigorous and robust regulatory program" http://www.ohvec.org/newsletters/woc_2009_08/article_21.html

  • curious

    This makes me real comfortable knowing that the DEP is overseeing the fracking industry. What's in your ground water?

  • wirerowe

    i think most people will support what Randy huffman is proposing. I think they also do an inventory of all land uses up stream in proximity to public water supplies because there may be uses that do not require a permit or are not chemical storage facilities that may require looking into

  • ThatGuyOverThere

    Maybe instead of them trying to run the natural gas industry out of the state with extremely high permit fees, overbearing inspectors, complete and utter fools handling permits at the DEP Office of Oil and Gas, they should focus some attention to the ageing chemical industry in and around charleston. There is no reason that they should not be inspecting these chemical tanks and facilities on a regular basis.

    • syd

      "extremely high permit fees". LOL. That's a good one. A good marcellus well produces enough gas in less than one hour to pay all its permit fees. Maybe if they raised the fees the state could afford to hire permitters who weren't "utter fools".

      You're a bafoon

  • jm

    I know the fire marshal inspects above ground fuel tanks before they are used. Does anyone periodically look at them any other time.

  • Henry

    No certification requirements??? Heck, I can't even get a propane tank refilled without a properly certified tank. Those propane tanks need to be re-certified every twelve years.

    • GregG

      Henry, you are not a big business. This event has clearly shown how ridiculous things are in this state. Just think about it, you and I must have a yearly inspection of our vehicle, yet a Chemical storage facility isn't a priority when it comes to the health and safety of our state and it's people. But should an effort be made to address such issues, you will find groups of people claiming its a "War" on business.

      • cutty77

        Its The Golden Rule Fellows. He who has The Gold makes The Rules. Big Money Runs This State.