West Virginia authorities on Saturday completely lifted a 10-day-old ban on the use of tap water that was imposed after a chemical spill contaminated drinking water, but they advised pregnant women to continue using alternative water sources. The final 2 percent of the 300,000 customers affected by the spill have now been cleared to drink and wash from their tap, said West Virginia American Water spokeswoman Laura Jordan. However, out of an "abundance of caution," the water utility advised pregnant women to consider an alternative drinking water source "until the chemical is non-detectable in the water distribution system." Crews have been flushing out the water system around the capital of Charleston since January 9, when a chemical used to process coal leaked from a massive storage container into the Elk River, the main water source in the region.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The smell lingers — the slightly sweet, slightly bitter odor of a chemical that contaminated the water supply of West Virginia's capital more than a week ago. It creeps out of faucets and shower heads. It wafts from the Elk River, the site of the spill. Sometimes it hangs in the cold nighttime air.