UPDATE: Both schools will be closed Thursday.
QUINCY, W.Va. — A teacher and a student from Riverside High School in eastern Kanawha County were taken to a Charleston hospital Wednesday morning after a strong smell of licorice filled the school during water flushing activities in connection with he ongoing water emergency.
Kanawha County school officials closed Riverside and nearby Midland Trail Elementary by mid-morning. Both schools had shown higher levels of the chemical Crude MCHM during recent testing. The levels were above the state’s more stringent testing level of 10 parts-per-billion. The levels were in the CDC-backed safe level of 1 parts-per-million.
Re-flushing of the lines was underway at Riverside when students arrived Wednesday morning. The smell of licorice became very strong.
Riverside High Principal Valerie Harper told WSAZ-TV one teacher and one student got sick from the odor and were taken to a hospital.
Kanawha County school officials also closed nearby Midland Trail Elementary early. There was also a strong licorice odor detected there. The flushing had taken place at that school early Wednesday morning.
MCHM leaked from the Freedom Industries site on the Elk River in Charleston Jan. 9. It got into the West Virginia American Water system touching off a Do Not Use water order for parts of nine counties.