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Businesses Have New Concerns On Water Situation

Reported: Jan. 15, 2014 9:38 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 15, 2014 10:24 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kera Mashek) -- Many businesses have been drastically affected by the water crisis, even after usable water has come back online. It's been a double whammy for one local business owner, who said she got sick from the water, and now she's worried about her business, which relies on clean water.

Stephanie Reese owns Salon Indigo on Charleston's East End. She had to close her business for a few days while the do-not-use order for water was in effect. Once it was lifted this week, she flushed all the lines at both her home and the salon.

But a few hours after she took a shower, she began feeling sick.

"I just felt so nauseous and was throwing up," Reese said.

She also broke out in rashes on her back, neck and hands, had diarrhea and has a sore throat. The illness has left her unable to work, and struggling just to get by.

"Very angry. It's a huge inconvenience," Reese said.

That's because it's not just personal health problems that are hurting her ability to work and make money. Customers are cancelling appointments, not wanting to have their hair washed with water they don't trust right now..

"I just think it's a low down, dirty rotten shame that this has happened," she said. "We're all hard-working people, trying to take care of our kids, trying to provide for our families and this didn't have to happen. It shouldn't have happened."

And Reese isn't alone in her suffering. Med Express offices across the area have seen a big spike this week of new sicknesses as people turn their taps back on.

"We've seen an influx again now that people are allowed to start using their water. We've seen nausea, skin rashes, also some eye irritation," Megan Evans, a physician's assistant with Med Express, said.

As for the salon owner, she's using some special scalp products to help protect clients, but is worried about the bigger picture.

"How long can this go on?" she asked. "And when are you going to know it's safe?"

West Virginia lawmakers are pushing through a measure to provide grants and zero-interest loans to help small businesses who have lost money because of the water crisis, maybe offering a little relief to places like Salon Indigo.



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