West Virginia Chemicals Transferred to PA

Sen. Bob Casey, others alarmed at possibility of water contamination here.

Huffington Post reports that the chemicals which have contaminated drinking supplies in West Virginia have been moved to Pennsylvania, raising alarm among state officials.

More than 3,000 gallons of MCHM, which is used to wash coal, was moved to a coal processing plant in Armstrong County, Pa. But according to local news reports, neither Pennsylvania regulators nor public officials knew that the chemicals were being transferred to Rosebud Mining’s facility.

Like thousands of other chemicals, there are very few regulations at either the state or federal level for using and storing MCHM. Thus, there was no requirement to notify Pennsylvania officials before moving the chemicals there.

That has the state’s Democratic Sen. Bob Casey worried. Casey sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Tuesday asking him to “ensure the safety of Pennsylvania’s critical infrastructure” now that the chemicals are in his state. Casey’s letter said he was concerned about the safe storage of the chemicals, because the county includes many bodies of water and is part of the Allegheny River watershed.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review adds:

Armstrong County Public Safety Director Randy Brozenick, the fire chief in South Buffalo, said he was not notified of the shipment of MCHM to any facilities inside the county.

Brozenick said first responders should know what types of chemicals could be present should they have to respond to an incident. Armstrong County does not have its own hazardous material response team. It contracts with McCutcheon Enterprises in Apollo for hazmat services.

“It would be kind of nice to know what’s going on. It would be nice to know what they are going to put in the county, so if they have any issues, we know how to deal with it,” Brozenick said. “If they are going to bring it to our county, we want to know where they are going to be storing it and how safe are they.”