CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Dozens of workers with the state Division of Highways are being recognized for their work in the days and weeks after the Jan. 9 Freedom Industries chemical spill that contaminated tap water in parts of nine counties.
Mike Daley, a DOH highway administrator in Ritchie County, is one of them.
He was called into action as part of the state Emergency Response Team and helped coordinate the movement of water supplies into the affected region. Others trucked in supplies or assisted in other ways.
Public water distribution sites were set up throughout West Virginia American Water Company’s service area when the company’s customers were told not to use their tap water.
“We have direct connections with the (West Virginia National) Guard as well as FEMA on these disasters,” Daley explained. “We have different jobs that we do and we were well coordinated in the effort to do that.”
Daley said the aftermath of the chemical spill, though, was unlike anything he’s seen in his 34 years with the DOH.
“We’ve done it in small disasters that we’ve worked with around the state — distributing food and water,” he said. “But nothing of this magnitude for the water distribution.”
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, state Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox and state Adjutant General James Hoyer recognized the workers during a ceremony Wednesday at the State Capitol.