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In Wake of Elk River Chemical Spill West Virginians Turn to Rainwater Harvesting
By Molly Rusk
Some residents of the Kanawha Valley in West Virginia lost access to clean drinking water on Jan. 9, when a coal-processing facility spilled roughly 10,000 gallons of crude MCHM—a chemical used to treat coal—into the Elk River and surrounding land. The spill affected the water supply for more than 300,000 people.
The quality of the water remains in question, but residents aren't satisfied with a choice between expensive bottled water from the store and possibly polluted water from the tap. Increasingly, they're going for a sustainable and self-sufficient alternative: rainwater harvesting.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
While some rainwater collection systems are large and costly, a recent article by Marcus Constantino in The Charleston Daily Mail showed that a household's water needs can be met with a downspout, a few repurposed 60-gallon pickle barrels and a garden hose:
The recent water woes in the Kanawha Valley have led people like Lori Magana of Charleston, WV, to install rainwater harvesting systems to avoid contact with what they feel is potentially contaminated tap water.
"It's sort of primitive," Magana said. "The rain barrel is hooked up to my downspout and it has a faucet. After many trials, I figured out the best way to take a seven-gallon jug from Walmart and carry it inside."
Magana moves rainwater from a 60-gallon barrel to five large, plastic totes in her kitchen. From there, she boils water in a pot before using it to wash in a battery-powered shower.
Magana is a member of a new Facebook group called Charleston Rain Catchers. Those who are active in the 133-member-strong group share photos of their rainwater harvesting setups and give recommendations on where to find the resources needed to harvest.
It's great to see West Virginians helping each other find a sustainable solution to this environmental disaster.
Visit EcoWatch’s WATER page for more related news on this topic.
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Editor's note: The coronavirus that started in Wuhan has sickened more than 4,000 people and killed at least 100 in China as of Jan. 27, 2020. Thailand and Hong Kong each have reported eight confirmed cases, and five people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the illness. People are hoping for a vaccine to slow the spread of the disease.
By Nancy Schimelpfening
- Nutrition experts say healthy eating is about making good choices most of the time.
- Treats like cookies can be eaten in moderation.
- Information like total calories, saturated fat, and added sugars can be used to compare which foods are relatively healthier.
- However, it's also important to savor and enjoy what you're eating so you don't feel deprived.
Yes, we know. Cookies aren't considered a "healthy" food by any stretch of the imagination.
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