CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A tank leak in Kanawha County is believed to not have impacted drinking water, according to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
DEP said the tank, located in Belcher Hollow, was holding a solution containing 20 percent sodium hydroxide used to treat acid mine drainage.
The solution is also known as lye.
A department investigation determined the leak was caused by two small caliber bullet holes. Though the exact time is being investigated, the department said it believes the punctures were made March 16.
Under normal circumstances, the solution entered treatment ponds at a controlled rate. The holes caused the solution to enter at an increased rate, which changed the pond’s basicity.
The nearest public water intake is located 30 miles from the spill, on the Elk River in Charleston.
The storage tank is registered to a subsidy of ERP Environmental Fund, Inc. DEP said it will issue two notices of violations to the company: one for inadequate secondary containment, and a second for exceeding discharge limits regarding pH.