Second chemical in the water
Freedom Industries executives have now released there was a second chemical leaked into the Elk River on January 9. Gary Southern, president of Freedom Industries, said 7500 gallons of the chemical PPH had also been mixed into the MCHM tank at the time of the leak. PPH, a mixture of polyglycol ethers, is an additive and had not previously been tested for in the water.
State DEP Secretary Randy Huffman said having the revelation 12 days into the water emergency was completely unacceptable. “We have ordered Freedom to reveal any other information they have regarding the contents of the tank that leaked,” Huffman said. “Having to order them to provide such obvious information is indicative of the continued decline of their credibility.”
Gary Southern later clarified that MCHM and PPH were the only two chemicals in the tank at the time of the leak. Southern said the tank contained 88.5% crude MCHM and 7.3% PPH.
West Virginia American Water believed that the water purifying system they used would have cleared the PPH automatically but this could not be confirmed as the water had not been tested for that particular chemical.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the toxicologic impact of PPH does not suggest any new health concerns.