West Virginia

Department of
Health & Human Resources

Second Round of Tests on Coal River Foam Indicate Substance is Likely Natural Occurrence

1/24/2015

A second set of water samples on a white foam substance observed in the Coal River tested negative today for soap or other harmful materials. These results, combined with test results from last night, indicate that the foam was most likely a natural occurrence related to the decay of plants and other organic materials.
 
Reports of the foam prompted health and water system officials to close the water intakes for the Lincoln Public Service District and the St. Albans water system for several hours yesterday as a precaution. The intakes were reopened last night after the initial testing determined not only that there were no abnormalities in the water, but also that the foam was highly insoluble. Insoluble materials would stay on the surface of the water and would not easily be pulled into the water intakes, which are below the river’s surface. Also, in the unlikely event that any of this material did enter a water treatment system, it would be caught in the plant’s filtration system.
 
The water samples collected by PSD officials were tested last night at a West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources laboratory in Big Chimney. The second round of samples collected by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection was tested at ALS Environmental in South Charleston. Also, DEP inspectors searched along the river and feeder streams yesterday and saw no indications of any leaks or spills.

Contact Information

Allison C. Adler ■ DHHR Director of Communications ■ (304) 558-7899 ■ allison.c.adler@wv.gov

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