Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz’

Experts to field water questions in show

Written by on . Posted in News, Uncategorized

CHARLESTON — “The Law Works,” a weekly television show on West Virginia PBS that discusses legal issues affecting the lives of West Virginians, will conduct a special one-hour live call-in show Thursday, Feb. 13, focused on the Jan. 9 chemical spill into the Elk River that affected residents in nine West Virginia counties.

Scheduled guests for the show include: Alan Ducketman, M.D., professor in occupational and environmental health sciences at West Virginia University; Paul F. Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D., director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute; and Patrick C. McGinley, professor at the West Virginia University College of Law.

“I’m looking forward to a lively discussion,” program host Dan Ringer said in a press release. “Water safety is something we all take for granted, and this incident has shown just how fragile our water resources are. I’m hoping this episode of ‘The Law Works’ will help people better understand their rights and expectations when it comes to managing natural resources we all depend on.”

Calls will be taken from 8 p.m. the day of the show until a few minutes before 9 p.m.

“The Law Works” regularly airs at 8:30 p.m. each Thursday on WV PBS and Fridays at 11 a.m. on WV PBS 2, where available.

More information about this week’s and recent topics from the program is available at The Law Works website,, including YouTube postings of recent programs.

UPDATE –  Below is “The Law Works” special call-in program that aired on February 13, 2014.

Water tests continue, still no estimate of when do not use order will be lifted

Written by Shuana Johnson, Metro News on . Posted in News

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Water testing continued in parts of nine West Virginia counties on Friday, the day after West Virginia American Water Company issued a do not use order for its customers in Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, Jackson, Clay, Logan and Roane counties along with Culloden in Cabell County.

On Friday morning, Jeff McIntyre, WVAW president, still could not provide an estimate on when the order may be lifted.  “We have run some tests and we can detect the material, there is the material present, but we don’t know how to quantify it,” McIntyre said.

The material was an undetermined amount of a chemical, identified as 4-methylcyclohexane methane, which is used to scrub coal.  It leaked into the Elk River, which feeds the Kanawha Valley Water Treatment Plant, from a nearby plant, Freedom Industries, on Thursday.

McIntyre said his company was first notified of the potential problem around 12 p.m. Thursday and more than five hours before the do not use order was issued for an estimated 200,000 West Virginians.

“It’s very miserable not to have drinking water,” said Kent Carper, Kanawha County Commission president, who was working with state and local officials to coordinate water distribution in Kanawha County.

As of Friday morning, McIntyre said there were still many questions about the chemical.

WVAW was working with toxicologists with the manufacturer of the chemical that was being stored at the facility to try to understand the risks that could be associated with the chemical.  “In other words, what kind of quantities can be present in drinking water and not pose harm to our customers?”

State officials were also involved.  “Our emergency response team has worked to develop a testing protocol and a sampling plan on the chemical at issue.  Initial samples have been taken and additional sampling and testing will continue throughout the situation,” said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Friday morning.

Those with West Virginia American Water Company, the state Bureau of Health and emergency responders were coordinating the sampling effort.  “This process will take time, but we continue to work quickly to provide information related to the ability to life the ‘do not use’ order by West Virginia American Water Company,” Tomblin said.

Paul Ziemkiewicz, a West Virginia University professor, had been looking into the composition of the chemical.  He said it does pose some health dangers.  “If you breathe it, in its pure form, it is a lung irritant.  In its pure form, on skin contact, it will cause irritation.  If you drink this stuff, you have to drink quite a bit of it in order to die,” said Ziemkiewicz.