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West Virginia health officials work to get restaurants reopened

Jan. 11, 2014 at 9:05 PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va., Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Restaurants in the area in West Virginia hit by a huge chemical spill must submit plans to get clean hot water before they can reopen, health officials say.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha County Health Department, said the department will review the plans and inspectors will examine the restaurants, the Charleston Gazette reported. He said the department plans to stay open seven days a week until the emergency is over.

Restaurants will also have to flush potentially contaminated water out of their plumbing, Gupta said. He said most restaurants will probably use water being trucked into the region, introducing it into their existing systems, but he said owners are free to devise any plans that will ensure safe water.

Gupta said there are about 1,500 restaurants, bars and other facilities required to have health licenses in the region affected by Thursday's chemical spill.

Thousands of gallons of a chemical used in coal production spilled into the Elk River near Charleston, West Virginia's capital, on Thursday. The Elk flows into the Kanawha River, source of water for nine counties in the state.

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