CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State DEP inspectors and Kanawha County emergency managers said white foam found in the Elk River Thursday morning was “completely normal.”

Photo courtesy WSAZ-TV

Foam was spotted in the Elk River Thursday.

DEP spokesperson Kelley Gillenwater said the substance was spotted upriver from the Freedom Industries site where the Jan. 9 chemical spill occurred. She said West Virginia American Water Company was notified Thursday according to protocol.

Kanawha County emergency officials later said a number of things could cause the foam in the water including oxygen, decomposing leaves or sewage runoff. The foam is something that happens regularly.

WVAWC did take samples and had them tested but spokesperson Laura Jordan said it appears the substance is “naturally occurring foam.”

She added initial test results “indicate no changes to source water quality and no characteristics outside of typical water quality parameters.”

Kanawha County’s emergency management office did use a new map that plots out where chemicals are stored in the county in its response to the incident.





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  • The Ironconservative

    I love foam especially from this river been drinking it for 28 years its best in the fall when it develops a yellowish tinge then I just fill up me mug and slurp away. The summer it is green and a little brittle so me dont like it as much as me fall yeller foam yum

  • Aquarius

    After the freedom industry's spill, I'm sure foam on the elk is fact it wouldn't be surprising to see the river catch on fire...

  • tap water drinker

    I wonder how often such a foam showed up in the Elk River before January 9 and nobody noticed.

    I didn't see this in the Elk River, but I do see naturally occurring foam in the creek near where I live frequently. It looks unappetizing, but learned in a Master Naturalist class it's nothing to worry about -- assuming this is the natural foam.