Initial tests reveal no harmful substances in white foam found on Elk River


No harmful materials or unnatural odors were detected in water samples from the Elk River collected by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and tested by the National Guard Civil Support Team today. WVDEP was alerted to the presence of white foam on the river in the Charleston area this morning and immediately sent inspectors to investigate along the river and its tributaries.

The agency is still awaiting results of a secondary test conducted by another laboratory to support these initial findings. Those results are expected to be available on Friday.
While the WVDEP can’t yet conclusively say this foam was naturally occurring, the agency has found no evidence that the substance was the result of a spill.

The foam was first spotted by members of the public, who alerted local media, who then notified emergency officials.

“Even though no evidence was found of a spill,” said WVDEP Secretary Randy Huffman, “today’s incident was a great example of how vigilance on everyone’s part can contribute to keeping our water safe and clean.”


Kelley Gillenwater