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#2161 Elk River West Virginia Spill Incident WEBINAR IEPA#8664 IDEM#: PWST14-513

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Elk River West Virginia Spill Incident

LIVE DATE:  10/17/14

IEPA#: 8664
IDEM#: PWST14-5133

Summary: On January 9th, 2014, a catastrophic release of approximately 10,000 gallons of the chemical 4-MCHM quickly contaminated the Elk River, which is used to make drinking water for 300,000 people in 9 counties around Charleston, WV. Many of these people were without public service drinking water for as long as 10 days. The Elk River flows into the Kanawha River, which in turn, flows into the Ohio River where millions of consumers in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois were threatened.

Within hours of notification of the spill event, ORSANCO’s interstate notification program had alerted downstream drinking water utilities of the release and potential danger. Within 12 hours, ORSANCO and ODS chemists had developed the analytical method needed to detect this unregulated and unmonitored chemical. Armed with the analytical method and a non-stop communications network, ORSANCO and the ODS worked around the clock providing location and analytical information that protected downstream drinking water utilities on the Ohio River. No Ohio River drinking water utilities were contaminated by this chemical due to the analytical capability of the ODS and the ORSANCO communications network.

Presenter: Jerry Schulte, Manager, Source Water Protection and Emergency Response Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, ORSANCO

Mr. Schulte serves as the Manager of Source Water Protection and Emergency Response for the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, ORSANCO, where directs the Commission’s Source Water Protection programs, Emergency Preparedness and Response programs and the Commission’s Organics Detection System, acknowledged both nationally and internationally as one of the premier riverine spill detection systems. During his 27 year tenure with the Commission, Mr. Schulte has overseen virtually all of their chemical and biological monitoring programs.

Mr. Schulte is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Interstate Council for Water Policy, is the former President of the Water Quality Section of the American Fisheries Society, represents the Commission at meetings both nationally and internationally.

Mr. Schulte has a B.S. degree from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio where he studied environmental science at the National Center for Water Quality Research.

Mr. Schulte not only works, but recreates on the Ohio River as an avid boater, fisherman and waterfowler


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