Morgantown, W.Va. (AP) -- For years before anyone noticed, water loaded with potentially toxic heavy metals seeped out of the ground below the former DuPont zinc smelter in spelter -- and into the West Fork River.
State environmental inspectors acknowledge they didn't spot it.
Neither did the engineering firm hired by DuPont to inspect the site monthly to ensure toxic waste remains sealed under a layer of earth and plastic.
Instead, it was suspicious resident Rebecca Morlock, who spent a year investigating and complaining to get the seep get repaired.
The Department of Environmental Protection says metals in the water dispersed as they flowed downhill, then diluted in the river.
They say that since no downstream communities use the West Fork for drinking water, the only risk might be to fish.
But Morlock still worries people are being re-exposed to dangerous substances.
(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)