West Virginia 2014

This information is for historic and reference purposes only.  Content has not been updated since the last updated date at the bottom of this page.

2014 West Virginia Chemical Release


River with Trees Along Its BanksOn January 9, 2014, an estimated 10,000 gallons of an industrial chemical, 4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM), spilled into the Elk River just upstream from the Kanawha County municipal water intake in Charleston, West Virginia. This municipal water system serves nearly 300,000 people whose water was affected by the chemical spill. Due to the uncertainty over the chemical levels in the water supply, the Office of the Governor issued a “Do Not Use” order at 6:00 pm on January 9, 2014. Later that evening, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources contacted CDC about the release and requested assistance to review water sampling data and provide a drinking water screening level for MCHM.

On January 21, 2014, the manufacturer reported that another material was part of the chemical release that occurred on January 9, 2014. This material has been identified as a proprietary mixture primarily composed of propylene glycol phenyl ether (PPH) and dipropylene glycol phenyl ether (DiPPH). It was in the same tank and entered the water system at the same time as the MCHM. This mixture represented a relatively small percentage (approximately 7.3% by weight) of the total amount in the tank.

CASPER Survey Released  – 7/7/2014

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health released the Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) report which surveyed a representative sampling of households across the nine county area affected by the Elk River Chemical Spill.

Findings of Emergency Department Record Review Released – 4/23/2014

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health released results from the medical chart review of patients who presented themselves to 10 area hospital emergency departments in the 9 counties affected by the Elk River chemical spill between January 9 and 23, 2014.  

Page last reviewed: July 8, 2014