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The Charleston Water Saga

The Charleston Water Saga

You can drink the water again in downtown Charleston and some outlying areas, but still not in large portions of the affected area extending into several counties. Here's a map

You've probably read by now that the Freedom Industries facility that was the source of the spill had not been inspected by anyone since 1991. Today's Charleston Daily Mail (yes, Charleston has two newspapers, and more surprisingly still, they're both very good, though the Gazette's editorial page is more to my liking) has an excellent article from Capitol bureau chief Dave Boucher about why the state's Department of Environmental Protection has never had any jurisdiction over the plant and whether that might change.

The DEP has authority only over manufacturing or emission sites, not mere storage sites, as this one is. The DEP doesn't even know how many facilities there might be in the state like this Freedom Industries storage site, which housed 4 million gallons of the chemical. An inventory will reportedly get underway here in the near future.

Reports of inventoried chemicals are, under the state's Community Right to Know Act, supposed to be filed with the state's division of homeland security and emergency management. Boucher's report doesn't indicate explicitly whether Freedom has filed the appropriate paperwork but nevertheless suggests that it wouldn't matter because the paperwork required of facilities that store "hazardous" materials is so vague as to be meaningless.

There's a higher standard under state law for facilities that store "extremely hazardous" chemicals, but Freedom's storage facility did not meet that standard. 

Read The Full Article On The Daily Beast

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