Liveblog: Chemical leak scientists release some results

March 28, 2014 by Dave Boucher

The West Virginia Testing Assessment Project (WV TAP) team is today releasing some of the research it’s conducted in the wake of the recent massive chemical leak┬áinto the Elk River.

Here’s the agenda for the event, and look for updates throughout the morning on data pertaining to odor, in-home test results and more.

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 11:19am11:19 am

Rosen: Sampling 20 to 30 homes in a pressure zone (an area defined by the water company) should be demonstrative of the chemical levels of all homes in that zone.

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 11:13am11:13 am

Rosen: 2 questions focused on for design of further study: 1. How confident can I be that the water in my home is less than the screening level? And 2. What percentage of the homes are above any particular concentration?

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 11:06am11:06 am

Jeff Rosen, statistician and WV TAP team leader: Believe there are 86,866 residential customers throughout nine-county affected area. It would cost $635 million to test all of them; sampling method needed.

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 11:03am11:03 am

Professor Whelton just posted a one-page summary of the WV TAP team’s finding’s covered in today’s presentation:

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 10:34am10:34 am

West Virginia American Water confirmed WV TAP belief that filters at the Elk River treatment plant were leaching small amounts of MCHM: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140325/DM01/140329659

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 10:33am10:33 am

Neslund: There are “tentatively identified compounds” they had a little trouble identifying. Needed extra tests, which led to discovery of MCHM in filtered water

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 10:31am10:31 am

Dr. Charles Neslund with Eurofins discusses how the labs determine what exact compounds they find using a chromatograph (a chemical detection device.)

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 10:22am10:22 am

Eurofins labs talking now about analysis of MCHM and chemicals involved in the spill: http://www.dhsem.wv.gov/WVTAP/News/Pages/Eurofins-Environmental-Joins-the-WV-TAP-Project-Team-as-a-Presenter-in-Charleston,-West-Virginia;-Expert-Health-Effects.aspx

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 10:20am10:20 am

Whelton: No relationship found between MCHM, where it’s found in the home and the temperature.

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 10:20am10:20 am

Whelton: Largest amount of MCHM detected was 6.1 ppb; 9 of 10 homes showed levels less than 2.2 ppb.
#wvchemleak

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 10:16am10:16 am

Whelton: Detected chlorine odor in 9 of 10 homes, “sweet” odor in 7 homes, licorice in 3 homes, musty odor in 2 homes (samples Feb.11-18)

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 10:14am10:14 am

Whelton: As expected, water quality differences were detected inside the homes.

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 10:11am10:11 am

Whelton: After the spill, people living in 10 homes surveyed greatly reduced usage of tap water. (Not sure that’s new to anyone, but…)

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 10:06am10:06 am

Moving on to Professor Andrew Whelton to hear about results of in-home testing program.

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 10:04am10:04 am

McGuire: Panel study backs up West Virginian’s complaints they could smell the chemical even though West Virginia American Water Co. said the was a non-detectable amount of the chemical in the water.

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 10:01am10:01 am

Here’s the entire packet of findings published by Professor McGuire recently: http://www.dhsem.wv.gov/WVTAP/test-results/Documents/POSTED_WVTAP%20Odor%20Expert%20Panel%20TechMemov2%20031714.pdf

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 9:53am9:53 am

For what it’s worth, a team from Virginia Tech found a different odor threshold (how much is in the water before you can smell it) than Professor McGuire: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140327/DM01/140329528/1276

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 9:52am9:52 am

Professor McGuire discussing difference between crude MCHM and MCHM as it pertains to smell.

Dave Boucher Fri., Mar. 28th, 2014 at 9:50am9:50 am

Right now we’re hearing from Professor Mike McGuire, who’s discussing the amount of MCHM in the water there needs to be before people can smell it.

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