CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As word spread in Charleston Friday of the contamination of the drinking water in parts of nine southern West Virginia counties,  many considered the impact of exposure they may have suffered before West Virginia American Water Company issued a “Do Not Use” advisory to customers.

Those who’ve experienced symptoms possibly associated with contamination were urged to call the West Virginia Poison Control Center.

Dr. Elizabeth Scharman said the center fielded more than 730 calls Friday.

“Last time we took a count we’d had – that we know of — 70 people evaluated in the hospital,” Scharman said. “But only four admitted.”

Scharman said a lot of the calls were out of concern when they experienced one or more symptoms.  Those symptoms may or may not have been related to the spill.

“Trying to separate what symptoms are coming in because people know that they were exposed to a chemical — versus what are actually the effects from the chemical.” said Scharman.

The symptoms of exposure could be nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, diarrhea, reddened skin, itchy skin, and rashes.

“The symptoms are ranging from mild to somewhat bothersome to more bothersome,” she said.  “Some people have multiple symptoms and some people might must have one symptom.”

Although most actual irritation from exposure has been mild, state officials are still urging anyone feeling they may have been exposed to contact poision control.

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  • Larry

    Yeah, that's the ticket, sue Freedom and WVAW out of business, they did this on purpose. All utilities should anticipate every possible scenario of things that could possibly go wrong, and they should all be instantly recognized and immediately averted.

  • BigMo

    Tim...could be the waters that's making you sick.
    Get yourself checked out when your shift is over.
    I'm there for you.

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  • Tim walters

    It's oblivious you are not intelligent enough to make a post like this.You people that hammer people for their post make me sick. Grow up DUDE

  • Just so you know

    This is totally unacceptable. I'd be interested in seeing the companies regulatory inspection records on this one. They are periodically required to have a "shut down" in order to conduct inspections of the chemical process flow lines, storage containers, pumps and seals. A storage tank should have an available backup tank in the event of a severe leak or rupture. Tanks should be emptied, sludge and contaminants removed, and inspected annually for rust and deterioration.

    There should have been (and usually are) redundant measures in place to account for any reduced levels in the tank itself. 1. The worker (chemical operator) in the field usually is required to take a physical reading of the tank levels via a site gauge on the tank multiple times per shift. 2. A computerized alarm system is standard procedure, along with a computerized (seismic graph) read out in a centrally located control room.

    If the chemical wasn't being loaded into a tanker truck, rail car, or pumped into another site container, then someone (the field worker, control room worker, shift foreman or automated alarm) should have caught this before any noticeable drop in tank levels. Unless there was a major rupture in the tank and only a seep over a period of time, it was leaking for a very, very long time. It may have not been preventable, but certainly should have been manageable before entering the water supply. Same applies to the WVAWC>>> How often were they testing the river water levels at there facility? How often do each of the above pull a river water sample for testing? TOTALLY PREVENTABLE!

  • BigMo

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  • Dbl

    Are any fish floating belly up yet ?

    • thornton

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  • Low Rider

    The Company should be held accountable for their actions. This is West Virginia. I am sure every plaintiff's attorney from Boone to Barbour County is looking for clients. At the end of the day I expect this Company to be out of business.

    West Virginia…open for business.

  • Lbj

    What about all of the aquatic life in the Elk River ?

    • leroy jethro gibbs

      see outdoors section of this website

  • wvtd

    this is killing my business and I am sure our business is not the only one being crushed by this. the smell of our water in cross lanes is just as strong today as it was Thursday.

    • Cigarman

      Hang in there wvtd my prayers are with all business owners that suffer from this