Charleston Daily Mail coverage of the 2014 Elk River chemical leak

January 16, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Updated Wednesday, March 26

Below is a day-by-day list of the Daily Mail’s coverage of the Elk River chemical leak on Thursday, Jan. 9, that resulted in water contamination for over 300,000 people. This list does not include daily resources, like lists of water and recycling locations that were updated each day.

This list is updated daily and goes by what day the story was put online (unless noted). That means a few stories of these may have appeared in the print edition of the Daily Mail on a different date.

Thursday, Jan. 9

Water warning now in 9 counties, emergency supplies on order – by Charlotte Ferrell Smith, Ashley B. Craig and Matt Murphy.

Friday, Jan. 10

Officials: Little known about spill recovery timeline – Dave Boucher.

Water situation improving – Whitney Burdette.

Freedom Industries provides scant details about WV chemical leak – Dave Boucher.

Rockefeller asks CSB to investigate chemical leak – Jared Hunt.

Lawsuits piling up over chemical leak – Jared Hunt.

Water woes continue, President joins state leaders in declaring a disaster for parts of WV – Staff.

WVU researcher says water use precautions are necessary – Shay Maunz.

WV residents hunt for safe water – Marcus Constantino.

Sheriff’s deputies respond to threat at Freedom Industries – Matt Murphy.

Legislature working despite water contamination – Whitney Burdette.

Huntington hotel offers showers following chemical spill in river – Wire reports.

Attorney General warns of price gouging after spill – Wire reports.

Saturday, Jan. 11

Video: WV life in a water contamination emergency – Elaine McMillion.

Test results improving in WV water contamination; more samples needed – Dave Boucher.

Officials: More chemical leaked than previously thought – Dave Boucher.

Live updates on WV water crisis: Water ban being lifted area by area – Staff.

Chemical Safety Board to investigate W.Va. spill – Wire reports.

4 hospitalized in WV after chemical spill – Wire reports.

Some facilities affected by W.Va. spill may reopen – Wire reports.

Sunday, Jan. 12

Water tests improving; still no timetable given on resuming use – Dave Boucher.

Potential ‘loophole’ in chemical spill reporting law – Dave Boucher.

Hospitality, retail industries suffering during leak – Matt Murphy.

Volunteers to hold plastic bottle recycling drive – Staff.

Water delivery a godsend for some residents – Ashley B. Craig.

High school basketball: St. Albans does its part to help in WV water woes – Derek Taylor.

Many schools affected by water ban still closed – Ashley B. Craig.

Flushing may begin as WV water system is tested – Staff.

Putnam Aging distributing water to seniors, homebound patients – Staff.

Man arrested in traffic jam created by water delivery truck – Staff.

Monday, Jan. 13

Here is how WV residents can flush their water lines – George Hohmann.

Some Lincoln County customers cleared to use local water – Matt Murphy.

Senator encourages others to ‘turn up the tips’ – Jared Hunt and Whitney Burdette.

Some residents travel for showers and laundry – Charlotte Ferrell Smith.

Putnam PSD to offer credit on some customer’s sewer bills

Tuesday, Jan. 14

19 lawsuits filed against company at center of chemical leak – Andrea Lannom.

Lawmakers meet again after delay from chemical spill – Dave Boucher.

Recycling of plastic bottles encouraged – Matt Murphy.

Officials say water testing continues, but slow process – Dave Boucher.

Shutdown could cost city $120,000 in tax revenue – Jared Hunt.

Main library, St. Albans branch to reopen Tuesday – Staff.

Charleston Sanitary Board can’t cut customers a break, mayor says – Marcus Constantino.

Erin Brockovich holds town hall meeting in Charleston – Matt Murphy.

United Way campaign to help affected workers pay bills – Jared Hunt.

Woman sues Freedom Industries, water company because of illness – Andrea Lannom.

Girls basketball: St. Albans’ generosity benefits other county teams – Tom Bragg

Wednesday, Jan. 15

Freedom Industries slapped with violations after moving chemical – Dave Boucher.

DEP considers an inventory of facilities in state – Dave Boucher.

More than half of affected customers see “do not use” ban lifted – Marcus Constantino.

Treatment plants handling mass flush – Matt Murphy.

State projects only slight economic effect from water ban – Jared Hunt.

Kanawha schools prepare to open again after crisis – Shay Maunz.

Residents say incident has created distrust of water supply – Marcus Constantino.

Chemical leak prompts court claims – Andrea Lannom

State bill would require on-surface facility inspections – Whitney Burdette.

Putnam officials praise crisis response – Kara Moore.

Huntington helps those without water – Samuel Speciale

Cool head, preparation help in handling emergency situations – Zack Harold

Thursday, Jan. 16

Water ban lifted for nearly 20,000 overnight Wednesday – Marcus Constantino.

Freedom Industries slapped with violations after moving chemical (updated) – Dave Boucher.

Neighbors complain of MCHM presence near trucking company – Matt Murphy.

Influx of ER visits reported following lifted ‘do not use’ advisories – Marcus Constantino.

W.Va. delegate joins in chemical leak lawsuit – Andrea Lannom.

Bottled water still in high demand – Charlotte Ferrell Smith.

Local water supplier Tyler Mountain stays busy – Jared Hunt.

Community members pull together during water crisis – Charlotte Ferrell Smith.

After missed days, schools hope to get back to normal – Shay Maunz.

Civic Center adjusts for water crisis – Zack Harold.

Freedom Industries could use PR advice (column) – Jared Hunt.

Cincinnati officials say chemical spill passed – Wire.

Friday, Jan. 17.

TODAY: Setbacks, problems plague water restoration efforts – Marcus Constantino.

Freedom Industries files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; lawsuits against company on pause – Andrea Lannom.

Kanawha stops bulk distribution, says some tankers could have been contaminated – Ashley B. Craig.

Water expert says chemical likely was leaking for awhile – Matt Murphy.

Several new violations for Freedom Industries – Dave Boucher (in print Jan. 17).

Questions about WV water safety still remain – Dave Boucher.

Small communities meet water demand – Matt Murphy.

Peanut Shoppe offers special on ‘Crude MCHM Jelly Beans’ – Zack Harold.

Kanawha should resume classes Tuesday – Shay Maunz.

Bill to help small businesses passes W.Va. House – Whitney Burdette (in print Jan. 17).

East End campaign aims to recoup water ban losses – Zack Harold.

National Guard helps Poison Center answer calls – Ashley B. Craig.

Man in need of pacemaker feels ‘lucky’ for family’s help – Charlotte Ferrell Smith.

Residents weather long wait for water – Marcus Constatantino.

Don’t ruin your hot water heater when you’re draining it – Marcus Constantino.

S. Charleston mayor praises workers, volunteers for efforts during water emergency – George Hohmann.

State, federal officials: Change laws after spill – Wire.

Saturday, Jan. 18

Many remain wary of W.Va. water as smell lingers – Wire.

W.Va. spill exposes a new risk to water from coal – Wire.

Sunday, Jan. 19

Some agencies still distributing free water – Ashley B. Craig.

WV chemical spill poses new test for lawmakers – Washington Post wire.

Monday, Jan. 20

Charleston considers lawsuit to recoup losses from spill – Matt Murphy.

Local charities have supplies, need funding after chemical leak – Zack Harold.

Long-term effects of spill remain uncertain – Jared Hunt.

West Side launches post-spill business campaign – Matt Murphy.

Risks of chemical leaked into Elk River still unknown – Washington Post wire.

Tuesday, Jan. 21

Official: $500k in ‘hazardous waste’ fund not applicable – Dave Boucher.

Tomblin introduces bill to regulate above-ground storage tanks – Dave Boucher.

Tomblin won’t say tap water is ‘absolutely’ safe – Dave Boucher.

Water co. president says tap water safe to drink – Matt Murphy.

West Virginia American Water addresses distribution controversy – Matt Murphy.

WV water utility objects to Freedom Industries bankruptcy motions – Andrea Lannom.

WV coalition recommends changes after chemical leak – Whitney Burdette.

Plastic water bottle recycling skyrockets – Matt Murphy.

Dunbar mayor optimistic following chem spill – Sam Speciale.

Wednesday, Jan. 22

Freedom Industries claims all leaked substances now disclosed – Dave Boucher (in print Jan. 23).

Gupta calls late revelation of new chemical ‘unacceptable,”disturbing’ – Andrea Lannom (in print Jan. 23).

Judge grants $3 million in Freedom bankruptcy financing – Andrea Lannom.

Report says water treatment plant was at high risk – Dave Boucher.

Council authorizes Charleston officials to sue over spill – Matt Murphy.

Executives with ties to Freedom Industries gave to campaigns – Dave Boucher.

Animal shelter flooded with bottled water donations – Matt Murphy.

Which water will wet your whistle? – Zack Harold.

WV Sen. Unger criticizes governor’s storage tank proposal – Whitney Burdette.

WV tells Freedom Industries to disclose everything spilled – Wire.

Thursday, Jan. 23

State still relying on chemical company to follow orders – Dave Boucher.

Bill to regulate aboveground tanks passes committee – Whitney Burdette.

Consumer advocates watching American Water Company – Jared Hunt.

Charleston Town Center restaurants using bottled water – Jared Hunt.

Realtors say chemical spill hasn’t affected market – Marcus Constantino.

Yeager officials discuss response to chemical spill – Matt Murphy.

PSC asked to extend water company’s reports – Wire.

Friday, Jan. 24

W.Va. American Water losses above levels accepted by Public Service Commission – Dave Boucher.

W.Va. official: Spill company knew of 2nd chemical – Wire.

Union worried about W.Va. water co.’s leaky pipes – Wire.

Guard tests water after W.Va. chemical spill – Wire.

Saturday, Jan. 25

Freedom Industries ordered to remove tanks after spill – Wire.

Sunday, Jan. 26

Recycling efforts soar in affected areas – Charlotte Ferrell Smith.

W.Va. PSC staff, union back water company reports – Wire.

W.Va. water customers complain of higher bills – Wire.

Monday, Jan. 27

West Virginia American Water has long history in Kanawha Valley – Matt Murphy.

Water distribution in Kanawha comes to an end – Staff.

More amendments added to tank storage bill – Whitney Burdette.

Final Kanawha water distribution will run until 5 p.m. today – Staff.

Freedom Industries lawsuits question liability – Andrea Lannom.

Tuesday, Jan. 28

DEP: Freedom leaked as much as 10,000 gallons – Dave Boucher.

Residents seek solution after water crisis – Matt Murphy.

Lawmaker possibly sickened by contaminated water – Dave Boucher.

Bridge Road restaurants using bottled water – Jared Hunt.

Wednesday, Jan. 29

Federal investigators examine Freedom tanks – Andrea Lannom.

Bill to regulate chemical tanks passes WV Senate unanimously – Whitney Burdette.

UPDATED: DEP officials unaware of connection between formaldehyde and spill – Dave Boucher.

Expert says tank leaked for at least 20 hours – Dave Boucher.

Charleston-area hospitals continued during chemical spill – Andrea Lannom.

Thursday, Jan. 30

Gupta, Brockovich call for long-term health surveillance – Matt Murphy.

National Science Foundation gives WVU $50K to study Charleston water – Shay Maunz.

Expert explains Freedom Industries bankruptcy case – Andrea Lannom.

Businesses turn to bottled water – Marcus Constantino.

Protesters demand better enforcement of WV water quality regulations – Marcus Constantino

PSC orders water company to continue reports – Staff.

Another town hall meeting planned on WV water problems – Whitney Burdette.

Friday, Jan. 31

Kanawha water distribution to resume with 4 truck loads – Staff.

Senate leadership questions House Speaker’s actions on chemical spill bill – Dave Boucher.

Crews at Freedom Industries site sever pipe Thursday, ‘minor’ amount of chemical leaked – Wire.

Official vouches for state springs – Whitney Burdette.

$300,000 in water contamination expenses estimated for Kanawha County – Matt Murphy.

Business briefs: Water company reports ordered – Jared Hunt.

Saturday, Feb. 1

Tests show presence of chemical at 5 W.Va. schools – Wire.

Sunday, Feb. 2

Five schools achieve non-detect level for water contamination – Staff.

Monday, Feb. 3

Speakers call for action on water safety at legislative meeting – Dave Boucher.

Lawmaker to introduce bill to raise chemical safety measures – Dave Boucher.

Law firms chosen for chemical leak litigation – Matt Murphy.

Tuesday, Feb. 4

Unger says WV residents lack trust – Dave Boucher.

Senators call for more oversight following chemical leak – Dave Boucher.

DEP air quality workers discuss leak with grand jury – Andrea Lannom.

Water company giving small businesses credits after chemical spill – Wire.

Wednesday, Feb. 5

Schools close for odor, illness – Shay Maunz and Marcus Constantino.

Tomblin, other officials discuss leak response moving forward – Dave Boucher.

State might test water quality in homes – Dave Boucher.

CDC, EPA officials to return to Charleston – Dave Boucher.

Water company is latest target in leak-related lawsuits – Andrea Lannom.

Official says number of bottles recycled are ‘in the millions’ – Marcus Constantino.

Thursday, Feb. 6

UPDATE: Three Kanawha schools close early for water quality issues – Shay Maunz and Marcus Constantino.

Officials at odds over safety of water – Dave Boucher.

Water company president says flushing is working – Dave Boucher.

Freedom’s Southern invited to Charleston hearing, hasn’t responded – Dave Boucher.

Friday, Feb. 7

Freedom’s firm linked to related companies – Andrea Lannom.

About $50,000 paid to workers after water disaster – Jared Hunt.

Water dominates legislators’ talks with WV Press Association – Whitney Burdette.

 Monday, Feb. 10

Investigators at hearing say there were two small holes in leaky tank – Dave Boucher.

Official: More stormwater tests ‘not a bad idea’ – Dave Boucher.

House panel holds W.Va. hearing on chemical spill – Wire.

 Tuesday, Feb. 11

State to test water in homes after chemical spill – Dave Boucher.

‘Eye-opening’ comments lead to changes in leak bill – Dave Boucher.

Private schools still wary of water after chemical spill – Samuel Speciale.

Wednesday, Feb. 12

House debates changes to storage tank legislation – Dave Boucher.

TODAY: FEMA won’t reimburse spill costs – Dave Boucher and Matt Murphy.

Thursday, Feb. 13

Committee questions storage tank bill exemptions – Dave Boucher.

Commission wants more water company data – Jared Hunt.

Friday, Feb. 14

AG Morrisey targets 2 stores over water price gouging – Wire.

Sunday, Feb. 16

Many look to rainwater after chemical spill – Marcus Constantino.

Residents remain skeptical of tap water after spill – Marcus Constantino.

Doctor says tap water still not safe to drink – Marcus Constantino.

Monday, Feb. 17

Jones wants Charleston to conduct in-home testing – Ashley Craig.

Freedom Industries has spent more than $1 million since spill – Andrea Lannom.

Freedom Industries’ Poca Blending has history of DEP issues – Dave Boucher.

Freedom Industries wants to fast-track bankruptcy process – Andrea Lannom.

Grandview students sent home after odor complaints – Sam Speciale.

Lack of school poses risk to test scores – Sam Speciale.

Tuesday, Feb. 18

Gov. Tomblin says state of emergency is nearing its end – Dave Boucher.

Jones wants independent, unbiased water tests – Matt Murphy.

State costs for chemical leak top $3 million – Dave Boucher.

Lawyer: Man didn’t price gouge after W.Va. spill – Wire.

Wednesday, Feb. 19

Officials say water crisis has cost CAMC nearly $2 million – Andrea Lannom.

Business owners want assurance that water is safe – Marcus Constantino.

Water safety at forefront of school board meeting – Sam Speciale.

Day care closings, tainted tap water rile attendees of school board meeting – Sam Speciale.

W.Va. chem spill co. paid $6M to related parties – Wire.

CDC to talk with WV about lab studies on chems – Wire.

Thursday, Feb. 20

Water company faces complaints filed through PSC – Andrea Lannom.

All schools to have water reevaluated this weekend – Staff.

Chemical spill compensation bill pulled in committee – Whitney Burdette.

Nitro water distribution site closed after sinkhole opens beneath tanker – Marcus Constantino.

Friday, Feb. 21

TODAY: Freedom executives back in court for bankruptcy hearing – Andrea Lannom.

How would Charleston’s water fare in tasting contest? – Wire.

Sunday, Feb. 23

Unlicensed chemcial leak entities received DEP permits – Dave Boucher.

Water company agrees to include more data in quarterly reports after chemical spill – Jared Hunt.

Freedom executives due in court Tuesday for creditors’ meeting – Andrea Lannom.

Dental group uses bottled water during crisis – Charlotte Ferrell Smith.

Monday, Feb. 24

Water complaints investigated at 3 area schools – Sam Speciale.

Fed health officials now calling water ‘safe’ – Wire.

Tuesday, Feb. 25

Freedom president speaks at creditor hearing – Andrea Lannom.

Elk River report outlines other water safety threats – Dave Boucher.

Wednesday, Feb. 26

CAMC expects to recoup losses from difficult January – Andrea Lannom.

PSC advises water customers about questionable bills – Jared Hunt.

W.Va. plans work on tourism image after chem spill – Wire.

Thursday, Feb. 27

Report: Roughly 1,600 tanks are near public WV water sources – Dave Boucher.

More changes made to storage tank bill – Dave Boucher.

Organizations aim to create clean water innovation center at Tech Park – Jared Hunt.

Workers fund pays $112,000 to aid more than 600 affected by water contamination – Jared Hunt.

Friday, Feb. 28

Rockefeller discusses chemical leak, questions ‘safe’ water designation – Sam Speciale.

Saturday, March 1

Rural West Virginians understand bad water – Wire.

Monday, March 3

House Finance Committee changes chemical spill bill – Dave Boucher.

Judiciary committee approves chemical spill bill – Dave Boucher.

Bill would raise water rates $51 million, PSC says – Jared Hunt.

Tuesday, March 4

Freedom given OK to hire firm that will help preserve evidence – Andrea Lannom.

Wednesday, March 5

Freedom wants an expert to help it wind down business – Andrea Lannom.

Thursday, March 6

Federal agents descend on site affiliated with Freedom Industries – Matt Murphy.

Friday, March 7

WV Senate passes amended chemical spill bill – Dave Boucher.

Long-term medical surveillance underway after spill – Marcus Constantino.

Saturday, March 8

Update: Legislature passes final chemical spill bill – Dave Boucher.

Sunday, March 9

School plumbing flushings to take extra precautions – Dave Boucher.

W.Va. wraps session shaped by chemical spill – Wire.

Tuesday, March 11

Tomblin officially appeals FEMA aid decision – Dave Boucher.

Citing water crisis, weather, Thelma Fay’s Cafe announces it will close – Jared Hunt.

Wednesday, March 12

Two months after spill, residents weigh whether to trust water – Andrea Lannom.

Charleston working on water testing plan – Matt Murphy.

Thursday, March 13

Thousands of gallons of material left at site – Dave Boucher.

Post-leak, some visitors wary – Wire.

W.Va. delegation asks feds to reconsider spill aid – Wire.

Friday, March 14

State agencies ask for emergency relief case to be dismissed – Andrea Lannom.

Sunday, March 16

Jail protected inmates during water crisis – Marcus Constantino.

Freedom aims to repay its borrowed money – Wire.

Months after spill, Freedom Industries tanks coming down – Wire.

Monday, March 17

Freedom Industries’ president wants to get paid – Wire.

 Tuesday, March 18

Judge approves officer to head next steps of Freedom bankruptcy – Andrea Lannom.

Wednesday, March 19

Groups release new MCHM tests – Dave Boucher.

Officials promise chemical spill reports to be released next week – Dave Boucher.

Thursday, March 20

More chemical data released – Dave Boucher.

Monday, March 24

CDC official who visited WV during water crisis resigns – Whitney Burdette.

Court to hear Freedom president’s motion to get paid in April – Andrea Lannom.

Tuesday, March 25

Wednesday, March 26

Report: Filters may be leaching small amounts of chemical – Dave Boucher.

Kanawha mapping potential contamination sources – Matt Murphy.

Reporters share insights on chemical spill with WVU students  – Tricia Fulks.


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