West Virginia Chemical Spill: Water Now Safe To Drink

The West Virginia chemical spill has inconvenienced thousands over the past five say, but there is finally some good new in site: Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has announced that they will be slowly lifting the "do not use" ban, meaning that the water supply is finally safe for residents to use.

According to ABC News, officials say that the ban is being lifted in a "strict, methodical manner" to make sure the water system isn't overwhelmed with demand. With so many people having been without tap water for so many days, officials worry that if the ban was lifted overall, consumers may overwhelm the system.

While the ban is slowly being lifted, officials have stated that the water may still have the lingering smell of black-licorice. Jeff McIntyre, president of the West Virginia American Water utility told reporters and consumers that there may be a lingering smell even after their pipes have been flushed.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the process of flushing pipes involves running all taps throughout a private residence or public place for a certain amount of time to help bring water levels down to safe standards: 15 minutes for hot taps, and five minutes for cold taps. According to McIntyre:

"The (pipe flushing) process was designed to be followed 'precisely' to get water levels below one part per million of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, which leaked out of a storage tank a mile and a half up the Elk River from a major water intake plant."
Consumers are grateful to hear that their water is finally safe to use again. One resident of downtown Charleston, Sean McCormick, was extremely happy to finally be able to take a shower. "I've had one shower since Thursday, which is tough," McCormick, 25, told ABC News. "Brushing your teeth is a pain," he said. "You really don't realize how great it is to have running water every day until you don't have it."

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