- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A contractor is set to begin excavating soil contaminated by the January 2014 chemical leak that fouled public water supplies for hundreds of thousands of people in Charleston and the surrounding region.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says the contractor hired by Freedom Industries will start digging Monday. Up to 10,000 tons of soil will be removed.

The department says the work, which also includes soil sampling backfilling the site with contaminant-free dirt, is expected to take up to three months.

The spill into the Elk River occurred just a mile-and-a-half upstream of a water intake that serves about 300,000 people in nine counties. As a result, residents were ordered not to use the water for anything but toilet flushing for several days.

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