Lawsuit filed over Paint Creek chemical spill

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Commission filed a lawsuit Thursday against the trucking company responsible for the chemical spill into Paint Creek last year.

The driver of the truck, Dennis West, who drove for Gadsden, Gaillard, and West, LLC, was arrested the day of the incident for driving under the influence.

The commission said West was operating a tractor-trailer on the West Virginia Turnpike the night of August 24th, 2022, when he lost control and flipped the truck, resulting in a leak on the Turnpike that streamed into Paint Creek.

Kent Carper

According to the lawsuit filed by the commission, approximately 3,000 gallons of Empigen, a hazardous material commonly used in cleaning products, were dumped into the creek in August, killing over 30,000 fish and polluting the drinking water for the area.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said they asked for a remediation plan from Gadsden, Gaillard and West LLC, but were displeased with the timing and response from the trucking company.

“Their plan of abatement is to monitor the creek. That’s not a plan of abatement, that’s just a dodge,” Carper said.

Carper said people of the Paint Creek area, “Are concerned that their wells are contaminated.”

The commission said they are moving forward with this lawsuit, “To protect the health and safety for the people of Paint Creek who are still being affected by this spill.”

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