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Elk River leak included another chemical

By Ken Ward Jr.

Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Federal and state investigators learned Tuesday that an additional chemical that wasn’t previously identified was in the tank that leaked Jan. 9 at the Freedom Industries tank farm, just upstream from West Virginia American Water’s regional drinking water intake.

The company told investigators that the Crude MCHM that leaked also contained a product called “PPH,” according to state and federal officials.

State officials said late Tuesday that, after consulting with West Virginia American Water Co., they believe the water company’s Elk River plant would likely have removed the chemical from drinking water during its normal treatment process. Additional testing of some of the original water samples from the first days after the incident is being conducted to confirm that, officials said.

“We have to go back and confirm things and make sure we’re doing our due diligence for public health,” said Gen. James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard, who has a team that’s been heading water testing efforts following the leak.

Laura Jordan, spokeswoman for West Virginia American Water, said Tuesday night that the company “described in detail our water treatment process with state chemical experts, who ascertained that our current treatment process would likely have removed this chemical.

“We are also testing water samples collected last week to further confirm this and will share those results when available,” Jordan said in an emailed statement…

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