Associated Press Published

Tests Show Presence of MCHM at Five W.Va. Schools


Tests conducted more than two weeks after a chemical spill tainted the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians show the presence of the chemical remains in five schools.
     The state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management on Friday released the results of water samples taken at 83 schools in five counties.
     The chemical that spilled Feb. 9 from Freedom Industries was present in tests at Andrew Heights Elementary, George Washington High School and John Adams Middle School in Kanawha County; Buffalo High School in Putnam County; and Lincoln County High School.
     The tests conducted Tuesday and Wednesday don’t detect levels of crude MCHM below 10 parts per billion, and 78 samples are listed as “non detected.” No results were released for samples taken at 24 other schools.

Update: Friday, January 31, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

In a news release issued Friday afternoon, state Department of Education officials say they are working closely with schools whose water tested positive for MCHM and the West Virginia National Guard are conducting another round of flushing.

“It is important for students, parents and educators to understand that the five schools highlighted by the most recent round of testing were well below the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommended level, but were not yet at the more stringent screening level that the interagency team was directed to achieve beyond the CDC guidelines,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jim Phares.

The release state that this second round of flushing is to achieve a non-detect level, below 10 parts per billion, which is 100 times more rigorous than the 1 part per million screening level provided by the CDC for protecting public health.

The news release also states that hand sanitizer, bottled water and food preparation with bottled water will continue to be used in impacted county schools until the schools have been cleared below 10 parts per billion.