CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has halted the distribution of a specific brand of bottled water in three Kanawha County schools after it was found to have a "strong odor" and "a problem with the taste," according to a news release from the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
The smell and taste issues are not related to the chemical Crude MCHM, which contaminated the region's drinking water. The smell was described as "musty," and there was no mention of licorice, the smell associated with the coal-cleaning chemical.
The health department believes the bottled water problem is limited to Ice Mountain brand water. The ban on its use applies to one specific lot of Ice Mountain water that was provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, although other lots of Ice Mountain water in storage have been taken out of circulation.
The water was in use at Sharon Dawes Elementary, John Adams Middle and Andrew Jackson Middle schools.
County sanitarians investigated after receiving complaints about the water and confirmed the complaints.
"A strong odor or bad taste does not necessarily indicate the water is a health hazard," Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, said in the news release.
Tests will be run on the smelly water and results will be made public when they are available.
The county says it has a sufficient supply of other kinds of bottled water in its warehouse.
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.