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Water fountain at Malden Elementary tests positive for MCHM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- More than a month after state officials discovered a massive chemical leak, water at another Kanawha County school tested positive for chemicals.

A water fountain tested Monday at Malden Elementary School showed levels of crude MCHM in two separate test results, according to Kanawha County Superintendent Ron Duerring.

"Malden Elementary will be re-flushed after school and further testing will occur. All results will be made public once they are confirmed," Duerring said in the news release.

"Students at Malden Elementary will continue to be provided bottled water and hand sanitizer."

The results showed detect levels of crude MCHM at 0.018 parts per million and 0.013 parts per million, according to the data provided.

State and local officials pointed out the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes any water containing less than 1 ppm of crude MCHM isn't likely to cause adverse health effects. The CDC and others have said that level was set with very limited information about the chemical.

A different water fountain tested the same day did not show signs of the chemical, Duerring said.

In previous reports of positive tests at schools, Duerring and other state officials have said there could be a chance the test was an anomaly or deviance that is inherent in testing procedures. No such assertion was mentioned in the Malden announcement.

Malden Elementary becomes the third school to show signs of the chemical in February, days after every school in the nine-county affected area were allowed to flush their systems.

Last week, five separate Kanawha County schools closed early due to complaints many believe are connected to the spill. Students, teachers and staff reported feeling sick -- one person passed out -- at Riverside High School after parts of the school filled with crude MCHM's telltale licorice odor during flushing.

Midland Trail Elementary School closed early the same day as the Riverside issues. The following day, Watts, J.E. Robins and Overbrook elementary schools, all in Charleston, closed early the following day after complaints of odor at the school.

Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water Co., recently told the Daily Mail he is confident the residential flushing procedure is working. He said the West Virginia National Guard worked with the school system to create a flushing procedure for school buildings.

"The Rapid Response Team, which is made up of individuals from the West Virginia National Guard, the Kanawha Charleston Health Department, the West Virginia DEP's Division of Air Quality, the Kanawha County Emergency Operations Center and the local school system, has been working with area schools to conduct inspections and additional testing," Duerring said in the release. 

McIntyre, as well as a slew of state officials, continue to say the water leaving the affected water treatment plant shows non-detectable levels of the chemical. They've also said they don't believe the chemical can stick to plumbing.

None has been able to explain why several schools continue to show signs of the chemical after the schools have been flushed.

This is a developing story. Continue to check www.charlestondailymail.com as more information becomes available. Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or david.boucher@dailymailwv.com. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/Dave_Boucher1.


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