February 2, 2009

Ohio city warned to avoid tainted water

The Bellaire, Ohio, water department is warning residents to avoid contact with tap water after hydrochloric acid was mistakenly added to the system.

Kirk Baker, superintendent of the water department water department said Monday emergency crews were at the city water treatment plant after a supplier mistakenly gave the plant hydrochloric acid instead of fluoride, WTOV-TV, Steubenville, Ohio, reported Monday.

Baker said about 40 pounds of the acid was added to the water supply by workers Sunday and the error was not noticed until Monday morning, when crews noticed the low fluoride levels.

It looks like it was caught in time and nothing major has happened at this time, Baker said.

He said crews were working Monday to flush the entire water system.

It could have been a serious situation we want everybody to know the guys have been great. We've been on it, Baker said. Luckily we caught it but it's nerve racking.

The department said between 2,300 and 2,400 people were affected by the incident.