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.

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  • Angelia

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  • rebecca

    Why is american water saying the water is safe. This is proof that water is unsafe......

  • Robert Miller

    They Need To flush all these water tanks on these hills.They said they had a leak at Belle and had Riverside flush the school and it brought this cemical down into school.These cemicals are floating in top of these storage tanks that why they are coming back .Llv e at Mammoth and they have not check these tanks to see if it is flooting in top of the two tanks up here

  • Gary Karstens

    It seems like there has not been a lot of honesty since this crime began. It seems like a lot of "hush-hush" and "let other people speak" and "we'll get to the bottom of this and let you know".......and no one ever let's any one know. Just put your faith in the good ole boy network!

  • Kat

    Why were they flushing them again....just when everyone was getting back to school. Who's great idea was that. Seems they would of left the schools closed if they were going to flush again. It's not right

    • Jed

      The school board is completely incompetent.
      Making kids sick from their stupidity.

  • chub

    This licorice flavoring is just a way to get kids to drink more water instead of pop.

  • Colleen

    The smell is strong in the Chelyan area and water tastes bad.
    It seems officials are only concerned about the down town area

  • Baghdad Bob

    The water is safe! There is no cause for alarm!