The map that shows residents of nine counties in West Virginia whether they can start using the water from their taps is slowly starting to change from red to blue.
That’s good news because blue means customers in those areas can start flushing their homes’ and businesses’ pipes — and after that, start using their water again for cooking, cleaning and drinking.
NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang tells our Newscast Desk that as of mid-morning Tuesday, about 35,000 of the 300,000 people who had been without water since last Thursday are now in the all-clear zones.
It was last Thursday when a chemical used in coal processing leaked into the Elk River near Charleston and then into the region’s water supply system. Residents and businesses across nine counties were warned not to use the water coming from their taps because the chemical — methylcyclohexene methanol — can cause severe burning in the throat, vomiting and skin blistering.
On Morning Edition today, NPR’s Daniel Zwerdling reported that a team of federal investigators from the Chemical Safety Board is going to look into the leak.