WV Public Broadcasting Staff
Wed March 26, 2014
WV TAP, Virginia Tech Studies Differ on Spilled Chemical Odor Analysis
A Virginia Tech study says a chemical that spilled into 300,000 West Virginians' water supply in January stops smelling at a level 47 times stronger than other researchers found.
The group that discovered the lower chemical odor level questioned the Virginia Tech team's methods.
The Virginia Tech group said in a news release that it detected the chemical in the air with specialized instruments. It used a gas law to calculate the corresponding odor threshold in water.
Michael McGuire of WV TAP, a state taxpayer-funded independent group, said in a news release that Virginia Tech focused on pure MCHM, instead of the "crude" version that spilled.
Both groups found the chemical's licorice scent was present well below concentrations that federal officials deemed safe to consume in tap water.