CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A team from two federal agencies is returning to Charleston at the request of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to discuss future actions concerning the recent Elk River chemical spill.
Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency are set to meet with state officials today, said Bernadette Burden, CDC spokeswoman.
An "Epi-team" - staff with the CDC's Epidemiological Intelligence Service - arrived in Charleston Jan. 16, a week after state officials discovered thousands of gallons of coal-cleaning chemicals leaking from a storage tank along the Elk River.
The agency issued its advisory warning pregnant women against drinking water with any level of crude MCHM the night before.
The Epi-team came to Charleston specifically to help review health data of those who reported symptoms they believed to be connected to the leak, Burden said. The team returned to Atlanta Friday, and state officials will receive a report when it's finished, she said.
Different officials from the CDC are heading back to Charleston.
Burden said the three-person team is led by Dr. Tanja Popovic, acting director for the National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
She'll be joined by Dr. Ed Murray, acting director of the Toxicology and Human Health Sciences division under Popovic. The director of CDC public affairs will join them.
Apart from speaking with state officials, it's not clear what they'll be doing. Burden said they'll have a better understanding of what help is needed, and whether other officials need to come to the state, after today's meeting.
She wasn't sure which state officials would be at the meeting, and she didn't mention the names of the EPA team members.
Tomblin spokeswoman Amy Shuler Goodwin didn't respond to several requests for comment.
The governor's official Twitter account says Tomblin, along with a state and federal team, will provide a "detailed update" today. The update will cover "what we've accomplished, where we are, & actions moving forward," according to the tweet.
The CDC's delayed warning, as well as how it arrived at the 1-part-per-million "safe" level of crude MCHM in the water, have led to criticism from the public and local officials.
Dr. Vikas Kapil, a CDC official who works in Popovic's division, said last month the CDC issued the advisory for pregnant women out of "an abundance of caution" and because the situation was evolving and changing.