Families cautious about swimming after chemical leak - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Families cautious about swimming after chemical leak

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Families cautious about swimming after chemical leak Families cautious about swimming after chemical leak
Many kids plan on diving into the summer by taking a swim in the pool. But this year, many parents are saying not so fast.

"I just don't feel it's safe,” said Miranda Dunlap, whose 5-year-old son loves going to the pool. “I know they say it is safe to drink, but I just don't trust it."

Ever since the Freedom Industries chemical leak contaminated the drinking water for 300,000 WV American Water customers, families have been cautious about everything. Those previously nervous about cooking and bathing with tap water are now afraid of swimming in it.

"They're surrounded by water [when they swim],” said Dunlap. “It's getting into every single pore, so it’s definitely more exposure."

Health officials say that exposure can be limited. Sanitarians with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department say pool owners should flush out their pipes for 15 minutes to make sure crude MCHM isn’t lingering in dead lines.

"Between where the valve is closed and the pool, there might be 10 to 50 feet,” said David Winowich with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. “That 50 feet section of water might have contaminated water in it."

Experts say a typical pool filter won't be able to filter out MCHM. Many local pool supply stores are carrying granular activated carbon filters as an alternative.  

"Sand filters for swimming pools are really designed to take out solids, whereas your carbon filters can take out chemicals,” said John Saville, the owner of Leisure Pools in Charleston.

Many unknowns still remain, including if MCHM could mingle with other pool ingredients to form new compounds.

“With any relationship with trust that's broken, it takes a while to get back,” said Dunlap. “I think that is where we are at this point."