Environment
3:47 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Local Nonprofit Provides Aid to West Virginians Affected by Chemical Spill

About 300,000 residents in West Virginia are still without water for a fourth day, and one local organization is lending a helping hand to make sure residents have water to drink, cook with and bathe in.

Brother’s Brother Foundation is a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that provides disaster relief across the globe, and right here at home.

“We’ve provided seven tractor-trailer loads of water,” said Luke Hingson, president of Brother’s Brother. “That’s about 150,000 bottles of different sizes, all of which have been delivered by this morning. At least five of the tractor-trailers have been distributed at sites in Charleston, Danville, and Logan, West Virginia.”

Hingson said West Virginians affected by the spill are facing problems beyond just losing access to fresh water.

“In some ways, the most important issue is that you’ve got many tens of thousands of people who may not be able to go to work,” said Hingson. “Certainly in the restaurant business that’s true, and in the hotel business. You’ve got schools that can be closed, and you’ve just got a society that’s on hold. For those workers that get paid by the day, this is very difficult.”

State officials in West Virginia say the emergency order will not be lifted until the water tests reveal less than one part per million of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, which could take several more days.

On Thursday, a tank-owned and operated by the chemical company Freedom Industries sprung a leak, contaminating the Elk River in central West Virginia.