After a chemical spill on Thursday, tests done this morning at a West Virginia water treatment facility show some improvement in water quality – a sign that area residents may soon be able to drink water from their own taps.
“We are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel,” said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
Approximately 300,000 residents of nine counties in the Charleston area were under a “do not use” order and left without potable water after an estimated 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) leaked from a tank at a Freedom Industries facility along the Elk River.
The West Virginia American Water Company and the state’s Bureau of Public Health are conducting the sampling, which reportedly showed the chemical’s concentration at 0 parts-per-million for water going in and out of the plant during two separate tests yesterday morning.
An array of water sample test results must show the chemical at or below 1 parts-per-million before the “do not use” order can be lifted.
In response to a state of emergency declared by President Obama for West Virginia, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has distributed more than a million liters of drinking water to residents who made their way to several distribution centers.
A go-team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) arrived in Charleston this morning to begin an investigation into the spill, which was discovered by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection after residents called to report a foul odor in the air.
Freedom Industries has been ordered by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Water and Waste Management to cease operations at its Etowah River Terminal.