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West Virginia Chemical Spill Worse Than Initially Reported

By Sean Breslin
Published: January 28, 2014

Al Jones of the West Virginia department of General Services tests the water as he flushes the faucet and opens a rest room on the first floor of the State Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Approximately 10,000 gallons of chemicals leaked into the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians – an increase from the previous estimate of 7,500 gallons – according to the company responsible for the leak.

West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection released the new figure Monday from Freedom Industries regarding the scope of a Jan. 9 leak from a plant in Charleston.

(MORE: Here's What the New Farm Bill Would Do, If Passed)

The agency says it's still unknown how much of the chemical mix, including a coal-cleaning agent, actually spilled into the Elk River. Residents in nine counties had to stop using tap water for days, except for flushing toilet.

On Saturday, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered Freedom to remove all 17 of its above-ground storage tanks.

At least 400 people were sickened by the effects of the spill, according to a Miami Herald report.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report


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