Via The Charleston Gazette: Minimum 'several days' till safe water. Excerpt:
Measured chemical levels are declining in water samples, but Kanawha Valley residents are still likely "several days" away from being able to use tap water, government officials said Saturday.
"All the numbers are trending in the right direction," said Lt. Col. Greg Grant, chief of a National Guard civil support team that's running the tests.
About 300,000 residents have been told to use water only for flushing toilets since a Thursday chemical spill contaminated the Elk River and the water supply of eight West Virginia counties, and part of a ninth.
The chemical, "Crude MCHM," is used in coal processing and leaked out of a 35,000-gallon tank owned by Freedom Industries, a chemical distributor based in Charleston and Nitro. A retaining wall surrounding the tank, supposed to serve as a failsafe, was scheduled for $1 million in repairs.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that levels of the chemical must be below 1-part-per-million for safe use, but it is not clear how that figure was derived.
Grant said that it initially took them 24 hours to develop a method to analyze the chemical in the water, but they have gotten much more efficient, reducing the time it takes to test one sample from 46 minutes to 18 minutes.