AEP says power plants not affected by West Va. chemical spill

An American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) spokesperson said Jan. 13 that a recent chemical spill that affected drinking water supplies for several counties around Charleston, W.Va., has not impaired operations at subsidiary power plants in the area.

The Jan. 9 chemical spill on the Elk River has, however, proved a hassle for Appalachian Power employees at company facilities in the region. State authorities have instructed people in the affected areas not to use local tap water for much more than flushing toilets until the crisis subsides.

“The emergency did not affect our generation facilities (ie: hydro facilities or plants that use river water for cooling) from a generation operations standpoint), the AEP spokesperson said. “. However, like other homes and businesses, several company operations were affected from a personal use standpoint – water use by employees inside the facilities. These facilities affected from a personal use standpoint include North Charleston, including the transmission center; Glasgow; Marmet, including the training center and the hydro facility; Central Machine Shop; Appalachian Power headquarters; Hamlin; Kanawha River plant; Madison; and Winfield hydro. Water use warning signs have been posted at these locations.”

On Friday, Jan. 10, Appalachian Power provided employees with bottled water and hand sanitizer, and warned them not to consume or use tap water, the spokesperson said.

West Virginia news reports Jan. 13 said that the tap water ban was starting to be lifted in some areas of the affected counties.

The spill, which occurred at a Freedom Industries storage facility, involved a 48,000 gallon tank of a chemical used to treat coal before it’s sent off to be burned at coal-fired power plants, the Sierra Club has said.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.