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Chemical Spill Cost West Virginia Businesses $61M

The West Virginia chemical spill last month cost businesses $61 million, according to a preliminary economic impact study by the Marshall University Center for Business and Economic Research.

The Jan. 9 chemical spill closed restaurants and schools and left more than 300,000 residents and many businesses without drinkable tap water.

The preliminary study looked at schools and businesses such as medical offices, restaurants, hotels and some retail stores that required clean water to provide service, the Charleston Gazette reports. The CBER puts the cost at a little more than $19 million for each business day during the “Do Not Use” water order, the newspaper says. This represents 24 percent of the economic activity of the nine-county affected area.

Late last month Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the spill, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, a chemical used in the coal industry, originated from Freedom Industries’ water treatment plant on the Elk River in Charleston.

A second chemical called PPH was also in the leaking tank, Freedom Industries told federal and state investigators weeks after the spill.


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