WV Water Restart after River Oil Spill

Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 05:01 PM gHale

Kenova Municipal Water resumed production Saturday after the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources notified community leaders it was safe to draw water from the Big Sandy River after a Wednesday oil spill.

Water service will end up restored once the storage tanks have enough time to refill, according to a post made Saturday on Kenova Municipal Water’s Facebook page. The system, which serves more than 3,700 customers, remains on a boil-water advisory until further notice.

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Production ceased early Wednesday morning after the towboat Gate City from Gate City River Transportation of Catlettsburg, Kentucky, sank near Butler, West Virginia, and spilled what U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Huntington estimated to be 1,300 gallons of oil, contaminating the river. The vessel was carrying 5,000 gallons of oil overall.

There were no injuries in the incident and no one was on the vessel at the time.

The owner of Gate City is responsible for the cleanup, which could take from a few days to a few weeks, said Chief Warrant Officer Chris Blank, a spokesman for the Coast Guard.

Cleanup crews had removed about 800 gallons of oil from the river as of Saturday afternoon and planned to continue through the weekend, according to Coast Guard officials. Heavy lift equipment was contracted to salvage the towboat.

According to a release, the state is in the process of assisting the city with the provision of two 8,000-gallon tankers from the West Virginia Department of Transportation to help support Kenova’s water system.

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