West Virginia water woes continue as tests reveal more contamination

CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- The company responsible for last week's chemical spill just outside Charleston, W.Va., filed for bankruptcy on Friday. 

Freedom Industries is facing at least 31 lawsuits because of the accident, which left hundreds of thousands without drinking water.

There are still problems with the water supply. 

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New tests show higher chemical levels than earlier thought
CBS News
 Residents of Putnam County, W. Va., who thought their water troubles were over got some unwelcome news Friday morning: an order by the water company instructing them to avoid drinking and to limit contact with the water. Testing revealed higher levels of the leaked chemical than had been determined safe.


"I took a shower after they told me it was a green light," one resident said. "That's what made me mad."

Three hundred thousand residents had been under water restrictions since last Friday when a chemical used to clean coal leaked into the water supply. Residents couldn't shower or cook with it and had to drink bottled water.

Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta warned pregnant women to avoid drinking the water.

"We generally advise that if chemical exposures can be avoided during pregnancy that women should try to do that, particularly when we know little about the chemical as we do in this case," Dr. Vikas Kapil said. 

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Three hundred thousand residents had been under water restrictions since last Friday when a chemical used to clean coal leaked into the water supply
CBS News
 It's not clear how harmful the chemical, known as MCHM is. There have been no studies done on its effect of the chemical in humans. That lack of knowledge worries many West Virginia residents.

 

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Jeni Burns, Charleston business owner
CBS News
 Jeni Burns is a Charleston business owner.

"I'm not cooking with this water, I'm not drinking this water," she said. "As a matter of fact, in here, I've washed the dishes with bottled water, rinsed them off with bottled water."

Several lawsuits have been filed against Freedom Industries. The bankruptcy filing will have an impact on how those lawsuits proceed.

  • Jeff Pegues

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