Thursday, January 09, 2014

River runs through it

Big news not far from Pittsburgh is of a chemical spill into the Elk River near Charlestown, West Virginia.

No casting aspersions here, this has happened to us. On January 2, 1988, 4 million gallons of diesel spilled into the Monongahela River, 25 miles upriver from Downtown Pittsburgh when a tank of the Ashland Oil Company collapsed at Floreffe*, Pennsylvania. At the time it was the largest inland oil spill in US history, though there have been some larger inland spills since.

Two issues are going to arise. First of course are  health and public safety impacts. Right now there are some big impacts as water and power usage has been curtailed across several counties as a result of the new spill.  In the long run there is also how public perception views the incident which will impact those counties much longer into the future. But obscure references R us. There was once a study of public perceptions following the incident.

* I really am curious how a Pennsylvania community was ever named for a Wallonian Abbey? I have no idea. It might even stump the erudite NS commentariat? 


Anonymous marketdiamond said...

I always thought it had more to do with the town of Floreffe, Belgium, since Charleroi is a short drive from it in both Belgium (or Wallonia if one prefers) and Pennsylvania. Both towns are on the same river be it the Monongahela or Sambre.
Versailles & Essen (as in MonEssen) are also within a day trip in both Europe & Pennsylvania.

Would be interesting to get something definitive though.

Friday, January 10, 2014 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

You know, there is no Wikipedia entry for the Ashland Oil Spill near Pittsburgh. Somebody has some work to do.

Friday, January 10, 2014 5:13:00 PM  
Anonymous marketdiamond said...

As you know with the Pittsburgh Parking Chair it's a strange place. I've spent too much time convincing wikipedians that KDKA was not a "cable access channel", that RIDC should not be 'speedily deleted' because it was "irrelevant", trying to add the Pittsburgh web image item to Weiner's article, unsuccessfully lobbying wikinews to include the Pittsburgh G20 (only to see them immediately headline Toronto's months later) & the Gordian knot that was the Steeler Nation article, citing every fan in W. PA. as a bigot.

I'd like to see a Floreffe Spill article but it takes a lot just to keep the 'feelgood' articles up, not spending wikicapital on feeding the misconceptions of folks that doubt our G20, think KDKA is "cable access" & our fans are prejudiced.

Saturday, January 11, 2014 7:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Horrible Howell said...

According to Bruce Weston's The People of Southwestern Pennsylvania,

"Floreffe ... is named for a town in Belgium which also was a center of glass making. While it is not clear precisely what led to Floreffe's name, it is certainly associated with the coming of Belgian glass workers to the glass factories here."

There's still a sizable glass plant (Guardian Industries) sandwiched between the former Ashland terminal and the river.

Sunday, January 12, 2014 1:40:00 AM  
Anonymous marketdiamond said...

Very interesting Horrible Howell, nice work! Confirms my suspicions. On the wikipedia front we now have two Anon IPs challenging the bridge record on the main Pittsburgh article, as well as some trying to shave it down a bit. The hits just keep on coming.

Monday, January 13, 2014 7:15:00 PM  

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