More cleared to use water after US chemical spill

2014-01-15 08:51
Workers inspect an area outside a retaining wall around storage tanks at Freedom Industries storage facility in Charleston. (File, AP)

Workers inspect an area outside a retaining wall around storage tanks at Freedom Industries storage facility in Charleston. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Charleston - About 39% of the hundreds of thousands of people affected by a chemical spill in West Virginia have been told they can use the local water again.

Thursday's leak of a chemical used in coal processing affected about 300 000 people in the state's capital region.

Officials say it could be days before everyone is cleared to use the water.

In all, state officials believe about 28 390L leaked from a Freedom Industries plant into the nearby Elk River.

The crisis shut schools and restaurants, and truckloads of water had to be brought in from out of state. People were told to use the water only to flush their toilets.

Complaints came in to West Virginia American Water about an odour and officials discovered the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol was leaking out of a 151 412L tank.

Federal authorities have opened an investigation.

Only 14 people exposed to the contaminated water were admitted to the hospital, and none were in serious condition. No fish kills were reported.

The chemical, even in its most concentrated form, isn't deadly. However, the compound can cause symptoms ranging from skin irritation and rashes to vomiting and diarrhoea.

Company president Gary Southern said Friday that the leak had been stopped, but otherwise company officials have declined to comment.

The chemicals removed from Freedom Industries' Elk River site have been shipped to another facility that the company owns, said Jimmy Gianato, state Department of Homeland Security director. The facility is in nearby Nitro, not near a water source.

Read more on:    us  |  pollution  |  water

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.