Growers In W. Va. Cope With Contaminated Water Supply

Goff headshot
Matt Goff of Gritt’s Midway Greenhouse

A water crisis started in West Virginia last month after a chemical used in coal processing spilled into Elk River, affecting thousands of people and causing complications for local growers.

The chemical leaked from a Freedom Industries plant, contaminating water and resulting in a state-issued water ban for many areas of the state.

“The spill happened really close to the water intake out of the Elk River for the state’s largest water provider,” says Bobby Barnitz of Bob’s Market and Greenhouses, located in Mason, W. Va., more than 60 miles from where the spill occurred.

“It has impacted nearly 300,000 folks and really caused a hardship for all,” Barnitz says.

Matt Goff of Gritt’s Midway Greenhouse, located outside of Charleston, said the spill affected the operation’s water source, but luckily, it doesn’t do much watering this time of the year.

“We did have to apply some water from the tap because that was all we had at the time. You could smell some of the contamination in the city water, so we stopped watering,” Goff says.

Goff said it would be a week or two before the operation learned if there is any damage. After the spill, Gritt’s switched to water it had in a holding tank, before turning to an old well pump.

“There is not enough water in the well to supply the place if it was full and weather was hot, but right now we are holding our own,” he says.

Gritt’s hydroponic vegetables have a holding tank for city water, which was full of good water before the chemical spill occurred.

“We isolated the fill valve after learning of the leak. This tank holds about 15,000 gallons, so we have plenty to supply our veggies now because they are not taking much water at this stage. We would have likely lost these crops if this was later in the season with warm weather,” Goff says.

The ban was lifted in for some parts of Charleston, W. Va., starting on January 13, four days after the spill.

According to Julie Robinson of the West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association, state officials announced on January 13 that wildlife and plant material would not be affected by the spill.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Latest Stories
Tyler Beasley and Allan Armitage

May 25, 2017

Allan Armitage: Two Great Examples of Young People Movi…

In his latest column, Allan Armitage says perhaps we should, as an industry, extend our hands to our youngest members. We might be pleasantly surprised what happens.

Read More
Stepables Tough-Ten Tags

May 25, 2017

Jury Awards Damages in Stepables Photo Copyright Case, …

According to a press release from Under A Foot Plant, Co,, a jury awarded Under A Foot Plant (which owns the Stepables product line) $900,000 in actual damages for The Perennial Farm’s use of Stepables’ copyrighted photographs.

Read More

May 25, 2017

AmericanHort Hosting Advocacy Visit to Capitol Hill in …

AmericanHort has announced it will be hosting Impact Washington, an inaugural advocacy and policy summit, in Washington, DC, Sept. 12-13.

Read More

May 25, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Breeders Take Swif…

Now that the initial shock of genetically engineered petunias is wearing off, breeders continue testing for tainted stock and look toward the future. On the consumer side, uncertainties remain.  

Read More
Bell Nursery Panorama Photo

May 24, 2017

Sustainability in the Greenhouse is More Than Just Abou…

Bell Nursery has taken several steps over the years to make our operation more sustainable from a technological standpoint. Here’s how we are doing it.

Read More
2016 Perennial Plant Of The Year Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’

May 24, 2017

What to Expect at the Perennial Plant Symposium in Denv…

The Perennial Plant Association’s annual Symposium takes place July 23-28 in Denver, CO, and features 28 educational sessions, six local tours, and a trade show.

Read More
Irrigation boom at Cavicchio Greenhouses

May 23, 2017

The Road to Sustainability at Cavicchio Greenhouses

Incremental changes to reduce its carbon footprint have paid off in greater efficiency and public recognition for this Massachusetts greenhouse grower.

Read More

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Gen…

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More

May 23, 2017

6 Simple Ways to Acquire New Customers

Even the most successful brands need new customers if they want to grow their business, or stay profitable.

Read More
Dr. P. Allen Hammer, Dummen Orange

May 22, 2017

New Dümmen Orange Scholarship Honors Legacy of Dr. P. A…

“Our industry’s future depends on attracting and supporting bright, hard-working students into horticulture programs across North America, and the support of Dümmen Orange will aid that effort,” Hammer says.

Read More
Petunia F1 African Sunset from American Takii

May 22, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Question and Answe…

AmericanHort’s key role interfacing with the USDA on the recall of genetically modified petunias has helped the horticulture industry rapidly address the problem. Senior Vice President Craig Regelbrugge talks about recent updates, the impact on the industry, and where it goes from here.

Read More
Tyler Beasley

May 21, 2017

Final California Spring Trials Thoughts From Allan Armi…

“I went home from California Spring Trials realizing that the students enrolled in our Greenhouse Management program at Spokane Community College need to experience the trials. Attending opened many doors of opportunity for me.”

Read More
Cannabis Seedling

May 20, 2017

Biocontrols: A Practical Option for Cannabis

With limited options for chemical pest control, cannabis growers are incorporating biocontrols into their integrated pest management programs. More education will cement this solution as a viable option in this emerging market.

Read More
The Greenhouse and Hoophouse growers handbook

May 19, 2017

New Book Highlights the Benefits of Growing Vegetables …

Andrew Mefferd’s new book, “The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook: Organic Vegetable Production Using Protected Culture,” covers the many benefits of protected culture food production, from being first to market, to more effective pest control.

Read More
MedMen New Facility

May 18, 2017

MedMen Cannabis Production Facility in Nevada Nearly Co…

Construction is expected to be completed this summer on the facility, which will include a 26,000-square-foot greenhouse and a 19,000-square-foot extraction and production wing.

Read More
Christmas Cactus

May 18, 2017

How to Increase Branching and Flower Bud Production of …

Based on research completed at North Carolina State University, here are some methods for increasing branching and flower bud production of Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgessii).

Read More
Sempervivum with chicks

May 18, 2017

Branching Out With Configure on Succulents

Researchers at North Carolina State University determine the best timing, rates, and production methods for using benzyladenine to improve branching and flowering.

Read More
New Frontier Cannabis Industry Annual Report

May 18, 2017

New Frontier Publishes Annual Report on the Cannabis In…

The 2017 Cannabis Industry Annual Report provides an up-to-date perspective on the growth and transformation of the legal cannabis industry, and what it means for each segment of the market, including producers.

Read More