PAINT CREEK, W.Va. — Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango gave an update on the $500,000 Paint Creek Chemical Spill Litigation on The Dave Allen Show, saying the creek is slowly but surely returning to its former glory with the funds.

Salango said ongoing testing and clean-up efforts have been taking place in Paint Creek along Interstate 64 since the August 25, 2022 tractor trailer crash in the area that spilled 3,000 gallons of Empigen, a hazardous chemical commonly used in cleaning products into the stream.

He said the creek is slowly getting back to what it was despite there still being some question and concern.

“My understanding is the chemical tests have come back good, even though even today if it rains you still see bubbles in the water,” Salango said.

Salango said they plan to use some of the settlement funds to stock and re-stock the 30,000 fish that were killed in the creek from the spill.

The trucking company involved in the lawsuit, Gadsden, Gaillard and West, LLC made an offer late last year of $500,000.

The Kanawha County Commission accepted their share of $250,000 from the settlement and agreed to place the money in a Special Fund. The Fayette County Commission is also receiving a share of $250,000 from the settlement.

Salango said cleaning and testing efforts continue in Paint Creek since remaining pollution is still such an ongoing concern.

“You know, there are no fish there yet but you see bubbles in the water, how can you say it’s not contaminated,” he said, reiterating what he said to the trucking company about the issue.

“I think it’s doing a lot better now, and they’ve studied it, as part of the litigation we’ve had them study the soil, the water, everything,” added Salango.

The commission set aside some of the settlement for the Paint Creek Watershed Association, who said they will use it to install stream structures in Paint Creek.

Salango said while Paint Creek is not fully back to what it was, it’s getting there.

“So, it’s looking better, is it 100-percent, no, would I eat a trout out of there right now, I would not and I don’t recommend you do it either,” he said. “But, at some point we’re going to re-stock it and it will be safe.”