Report: One Quarter Ignored Water Ban During Contamination

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Nearly one-fourth of Kanawha County residents responding to a health survey say they ignored a water-use ban in some form after a January chemical spill in West Virginia.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department conducted the random telephone survey of 499 adults in the county from April 3 through 8.

The results were released Monday.

The Jan. 9 spill of a coal-cleaning agent from Freedom Industries' plant into the Elk River in Charleston contaminated 300,000 people's tap water in nine counties.

A do-not-use order lasted four to 10 days, depending on the areas where it was lifted in stages.

The order allowed only toilet flushing and for dousing fires.

Twenty-three percent of respondents said they used their tap water for other purposes during the ban, including some who said they drank it.

After four months, questions about the health and economic impact of the January chemical spill will be answered.

It's no secret, businesses, especially restaurants, in our region took a major hit during the chemical crisis. Deno Stanley, owner of Adelphia in Charleston says, "it was rough. We weathered that storm and we certainly don't want to see it happen again."

Now, four months later, we're starting to get more answered about the impact of the spill on our health and the community.

The Kanawha Charleston Health Department along with other health agencies will release the results of a survey Monday.

Dr. Rahul Gupta says, "we looked at several things that have never been looked at, for example the psychological distress." He adds, "we want to encourage everyone who has an interest in their water and knowing what happened, understanding better as we are trying to understand better, the impact of this particular crisis."

The results will be released in a public forum from 5:00 to 6:30 Monday evening at The University of Charleston.

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