- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A group of Kanawha Valley residents is demanding a full investigation of West Virginia American Water’s role in a 2014 chemical spill and a resulting water crisis.

Thousands of gallons of a coal-cleaning agent leaked from a Freedom Industries storage tank into the Elk River in January 2014, leaving 300,000 people without water for nine days.

More than 65 concerned residents attended the Public Service Commission’s meeting Tuesday to urge the commission to not give in to persistent water company requests to narrow the scope of the PSC investigation, according to news outlets. Residents want commissioners to examine how well West Virginia American Water prepared for such an event and how water company officials responded once the leak occurred.

Resident Linda Frame told commissioners that water company and government officials gave unclear answers about the crisis.

“To me it felt like they were winging it,” Frame said. “I’m asking you to do a thorough investigation so we can have some reason to believe this will never happen again.”

Some residents said the situation now is no better than it was three years ago, while others said their main concern is that not all information about the spill and water crisis has been made public.

About two dozen West Virginia American Water employees attended the hearing, but none offered public comments.


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