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April 2015
Volume 67    Issue 4

The Elk River MCHM spill; A case study on managing environmental risks

Mining Engineering, 2015, Vol. 67, No. 4, pp. 48-48
Scaggs, Meredith; Sarver, Emily; Rojas Mendoza, Lucas


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Early on Jan. 9, 2014, approximately 37,800 L (10,000 gal) of crude 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) leaked from a storage tank sitting on the bank of the Elk River near Charleston, WV (WVDEP, 2014; CSB, 2014). MCHM is a chemical commonly used in preparation of fine coal, and is considered nonhazardous in terms of transportation and storage regulations, and also toxicity (CDC, 2014a). Freedom Industries Inc., a producer and vendor of specialty chemical products, had acquired the storage facility from Etowah River Terminal, LLC just a few weeks prior in December 2013 (WVDEP, 2014; Freedom, 2005). The direct cause of the spill was ultimately determined to be two small holes in the base of the 76-year-old tank, which were created due to corrosion damage (Bauerlein and McWhirter, 2014).



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