A water company executive said it could be days before uncontaminated water is flowing again in West Virginia.
About 300,000 people remained without clean tap water for a third day Saturday following a chemical spill into the Elk River.
Water sample test results must consistently show that the chemical’s presence in the public water system is at or below 1 parts per million, the level recommended by federal agencies, before residents can turn on their taps again, West Virginia American Water President Jeff McIntyre said Saturday at a news conference.
The company told residents in nine counties to not drink their tap water or use it to bathe or wash dishes or clothes after a foaming agent used in coal processing escaped from a Freedom Industries plant in Charleston and seeped into the Elk River. The only allowed use of the water was for flushing toilets.
About 300,000 people remained without clean tap water for a third day following a chemical spill into the Elk River
Thirty-two people sought treatment at area hospitals for symptoms like nausea and vomiting. Of those, four people were admitted to the Charleston Area Medical Center. Their conditions were not immediately known, Allison Adler of the Department of Health and Human Resources said Saturday.
Federal authorities, including the US Chemical Safety Board, opened an investigation into Thursday’s spill. The Chemical Safety Board said Saturday that its investigative team is scheduled to arrive in West Virginia on Monday.
About 7,500 gallons of the chemical escaped from a storage tank and a containment area, said Michael Dorsey, chief of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Homeland Security and Emergency Response office.
Erica Mae Butts and Shanita Latrice Cunningham, a lesbian couple collapsed, wailed uncontrollably and hyper-ventilated in the Charleston courtroom after hearing they would serve life for killing a three-year-old girl.
Erica Mae Butts and Shanita Latrice Cunningham had to be picked off the floor by court officials and held in chairs as they were wheeled out of the room.
The two women, both 25 from Summerville, South Carolina, were told on Friday they will spend the rest of their lives in prison for beating Serenity Richardson to death in 2009 while the toddler was in their care.
Erica Mae Butts and Shanita Latrice Cunningham, a lesbian couple collapsed, wailed uncontrollably and hyper-ventilated in the Charleston courtroom after hearing they would serve life for killing a three-year-old girl
Serenity Richardson was visiting Erica Mae Butts, her godmother and her mother’s best friend, and Shanita Latrice Cunningham, who was Butts’s lover, for two weeks at their home in Summerville, South Carolina when the abuse took place.
“It is nearly impossible for words to accurately describe what these women did to that poor little girl,” said Elizabeth Gordon, assistant managing solicitor for Charleston County.
“They beat her repeatedly both with a belt and with plastic coat hangers. You can see the outlines of the strikes on this child’s body. There is not one area of this child’s body that was unharmed except for the soles of her feet.”
Erica Mae Butts
Erica Mae Butts admitted to Summerville police on Thursday that she whipped Serenity Richardson with a belt for urinating on the floor.
Serenity’s mother, Ieshia Richardson, a childhood friend of Erica Mae Butts, lives in Detroit.
“The explanation they gave (for the beatings) was that Serenity had a potty accident,” Elizabeth Gordon said.
“Their explanation is <<we didn’t know what we did would kill her>>.
“They knew what they did was wrong.”
Shanita Latrice Cunningham
At the time paramedics reached the toddler, she was already dead and had been placed on ice and exposed to bleach in desperate attempts to revive her.
Circuit Court Judge Deadra Richardson said nothing had ever affected her as strongly as the photos of the little girl’s battered body.
In August, Erica Mae Butts entered an Alford plea, meaning she maintains her innocence but acknowledges that taking her case to trial would likely result in a conviction. Shanita Latrice Cunningham pleaded guilty.
Erica Mae Butts had been in the hospital with Ieshia Richardson when she gave birth to Serenity, her only child. She had been the only person Erica Mae Butts confided in after she was raped at age 15.
“I was responsible for some things, but I would never kill her,” Erica Mae Butts said, according to the Post and Courier. Then, practically screaming through her sobs, she turned to Ieshia and said:
“I will always love you no matter what. I just want to tell you I’m so, so sorry.”
During the hearing, Shanita Latrice Cunningham’s attorney said her client was less culpable than Erica Mae Butts in little girl’s death.
Erica Mae Butts’ attorney instead portrayed Shanita Latrice Cunningham as the “controlling and aggressive” partner in an abusive relationship, while describing Butts as a “meek” woman, the Post and Courier reported.
Sentencing the killers, Judge Richardson said: “To ignore what must have been excruciating sounds that came from that child is more than disconcerting to this court.
“As such, the court finds it appropriate that each be sentenced to the state department of corrections for a period of life.”