CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A "rapid response team" assembled by the state Department of Education to deal with water issues in schools following last month's chemical leak responded to complaints at four Kanawha County schools Monday.
Grandview Elementary School in North Charleston was the only one of the four schools ordered to close early. Students were dismissed there at 12:15 p.m., after the odor associated with Crude MCHM -- the chemical that spilled from Freedom Industries on Jan. 9 and left about 300,000 West Virginians without potable water for days -- was reported.
Several teachers also complained of headaches, according to Kanawha County Schools Maintenance Director Terry Hollandsworth. Later Monday, state Department of Education officials said in a news release that only two school employees complained of health symptoms, and there were no reports of students displaying symptoms.
The school's faucets were to be flushed again Monday and re-tested for levels of MCHM. School is expected to be in session Tuesday, and the response team will visit as staff arrives, according to the release.
The rapid response team -- made up of officials from the health department, the National Guard, the Department of Environmental Protection and local school and emergency personnel -- also inspected John Adams Middle School, Sharon Dawes Elementary School and Alum Creek Elementary School on Monday because of water issues, Hollandsworth said.
Water samples were taken from all four schools and results were still pending as of 6 p.m. Monday, according to the Department of Education.
The licorice odor was reported in the kitchen at John Adams, Hollandsworth said, while the odor reported at Sharon Dawes was initially reported as "a sweet smell."
At Alum Creek, the water in one of the school's sinks contained a black, oily substance because of "a bad feeder tube." A break in a water supply line allowed debris into the system, and is not believed to be related to the chemical leak, Hollandsworth said.
The members of the response team who are on-site decide whether schools should close because of water issues, he said.
In Grandview's case, the odor was reported by numerous teachers -- even though Hollandsworth couldn't smell it himself -- but at Sharon Dawes, health officials did not detect a smell, he said.