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Continued: 5 days after chemical leaked into W.Va. river, ban on tap water lifted for small part of state

  • Article by: JONATHAN MATTISE , Associated Press
  • Last update: January 13, 2014 - 10:22 PM

Steve Graham, who works at Union Mission in downtown Charleston, said they handed out more than 150 pallets of bottled water packs since the weekend. Graham said the water ban slipped his mind Monday night.

"I got that mouthful of water in the middle of the night just waking up, and instantly you got that candy taste in your mouth," he said.

Graham said he rinsed his mouth out with bottled water and was fine.

Only 14 people exposed to the contaminated water were admitted to the hospital, and none was in serious condition. No fish kills were reported and there was no impact to aquatic life or wildlife, state officials said.

The chemical, even in its most concentrated form, isn't deadly. However, people were told they shouldn't even wash their clothes in affected water, as the compound can cause symptoms ranging from skin irritation and rashes to vomiting and diarrhea.

Company president Gary Southern held a brief news conference Friday night, but otherwise company officials have declined to comment.

"We have mitigated the risk, we believe, in terms of further material leaving this facility," he said then.

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  • Chemical tanks are illuminated from the lights of emergency crews during clean up at the West Virginia American Water Plant on the Elk River in Charleston, W. Va.

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