Subject: Environment
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Word count: 556
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Some of the key issues or action in the Chemical safety and drinking water protection act involve regular state inspections of the above-ground chemical facilities, industries to meet standards for good design, construction and maintenance of above-ground chemical facilities, allow the state to recoup the costs incurred from responding to emergencies and finally ensure drinking water systems contain tools and information to respond to emergencies.

The incident known as the Elk River chemical spill took place on the 9th of January 2014 as the methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) was released into the Elk River from a freedom industry facility. Elk River is a tributary of the Kanawha River in Charleston in the United States West Virginia state. The spill took place upstream from the West Virginia American Water intake and treatment and center for distribution. In light of the spill, an estimated resident population of up to 300,000 within nine counties of the Charleston could not access portable water. MCHM is a chemical foam that is used to wash coal and eliminate impurities that often contribute to pollution during the process of combustion. On 13th January 2014, the West Virginia officials began to gradually lift the “do not use” advisory for drinking water from the West Virginia American water systems.

This was not an isolated case as it was reported by the DEP air quality inspectors who described the scene as “a Band-Aid approach” who further said that “it was clear that this was not an event that had just appeared”.  This was the third chemical spill accident in a period of five years to occur from Freedom industries in Elk River. In 2008, fire an explosion occurred at a Bayer Crop Science facility institute. Toxic gas was released at the DuPont facility in belle

The BP Deepwater Horizon Oil spills affected many economic prospects in the Gulf coast states as it affected many industries upon which the residents depended on (Walker, 2010). Fishing in the gulf was affected as the federal waters were closed due to the fear of contamination. If the chemical safety and drinking water protection act was enacted it would greatly mediate into the effects since it has laid down the legal perspective of the mediation process in case of such pollution occurrence in the water bodies. The other thing needed in the mediation process up with the enactment involving protection of the water against spillage from oil drilling.

Some of the threats apart from chemical spills that affect our water sources today are handling, application and storage of commercial fertilizers to the farmlands, handling, storage and application of pesticides and road salt, the establishment, maintenance and operation of a system that that collects, transmits, stores, treats and disposes of sewerage, the grazing and confinement of livestock, handling and storage of fuels (Vörösmarty, 2010)

Civil engineers can come up with sustainable design especially during the construction of water sources that can help prevent the surface run off from the farms in order to prevent pollution. This will involve the sampling of the soil, groundwater, surface water, and sediment and air analysis for various chemicals. Also the civil engineer is charged with the responsibility of designing the water treatment facilities and wetlands. The design must be done such that it carries out an effective treatment of the waste water before disposal in the water systems.

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  1. Vörösmarty, C. J., McIntyre, P. B., Gessner, M. O., Dudgeon, D., Prusevich, A., Green, P., &
  2. Davies, P. M. (2010). Global threats to human water security and river biodiversity. Nature, 467(7315), 555-561.
  3. Walker, B. (2010). Deepwater horizon oil spill. Journal of environmental health, 73(4), 49-50.
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