International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Testifies in Front of WV Joint Committee Investigating Elk River Chemical Spill
Union represents workers who apply protective coatings to storage tanks to prevent leaks and spills
(Charleston, WV) — Brian Stanley, a representative for the West Virginia affiliate of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 53, was invited to offer remarks this morning to the Joint Legislative Committee on State Water Resources in the West Virginia Legislature regarding the Elk River chemical spill.
The IUPAT represents industrial painters who apply protective coatings to storage tanks such as the ones named as the source of the Elk River spill. Although tank corrosion has not been officially ruled the cause of this accident, Stanley spoke today to offer the committee trained insight and expertise on the effects of corrosion on such tanks, and what can be done to prevent future spills due to corrosive elements.
“Over time, uncontrolled corrosion can weaken or destroy components of the tank system, resulting in holes or possible structural failure, and release of the stored products into the environment,” Stanley reported to the committee. “Simply put, tanks are susceptible to rusting through without the proper preventative maintenance.”
Proper application of highly technical coatings ensures the preservation of any metal structure. These coatings are designed to be applied at exact millimeter thicknesses, and the failure of an operator to correctly apply a coating may result in cracking, chipping or inadequate protection and will lead to corrosion on the structure.
Stanley further stressed to the committee that corrosion control is crucial as it protects taxpayers, our communities and our industries. “Better planning, mandated inspections and high quality craftsmanship are the keys to preventing and mitigating the effects of corrosion.”