West Virginia officials said a tainted water supply in nine counties must be tested for a second chemical that leaked into the Elk River.
The second chemical, the ether polyglycol, or PPH, was being mixed with the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or MCHM, which leaked from a storage tank at Freedom Industries. The two chemicals were being mixed together in the faulty storage tank that ruptured, causing the alarm.
Officials said the amount of PPH is far less, about 750 gallons, than the amount of MCMH that entered the water stream. About 7,500 gallons of MCMH is estimated to have gotten into the river.
Also, PPH is more soluble than MCMH, meaning existing levels in the Elk River that made its way into residents' tap water in and around Charleston is likely not harmful -- and not nearly as bad as the MCMH, which was dangerous even to touch.
Still, American Water Co. officials told West Virginia MetroNews, for the public to maintain faith in the cleanup process, they would conduct tests to determine how much PPH is in water being piped to homes and businesses in the area.
"We do not anticipate that there was any additional risk based on this chemical, but we do need to prove that to our customers," American Water spokeswoman Laura Jordan said. "We do need to show that to our customers because, 12 days later, information that's coming out only further might erode the public's trust in this whole process."
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Original headline: Officials to test W.Va. water for second chemical
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