Huntington Leaders Eyeing Chemical Leak as It Travels Down Ohio River

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- As the taps start to flow with safe water in parts of Kanawha County, W.Va., there are people expressing concern about what's next for people who live downriver.

Thursday's leak at Freedom Industries into the Elk River has sent the chemical from the Elk River to the Kanawha to the Ohio by Monday evening.

Stan Mills, director of environmental health with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, said the water has been monitored and tested by both the West Virginia State Health Department and West Virginia American Water.

"I hate to say this, but dilution is the solution to pollution," Mills said. "But in this case it really helps us out. By the time it mixes at the Elk River from the Kanawha through here, it's just not there."

West Virginia American Water customers in nine counties have had a water ban in place since Thursday night. Cabell County's ban only affected the community of Culloden, located in the extreme eastern end of the county.

"They'll be notified when it's time to flush their lines," Mills said. "We encourage people to wait for that. Otherwise, they're going to overload the system and create some issues. As for the rest of the country, the people who are served by this water plan, there's nothing to worry about."

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