Killing or sick­ening large num­bers of people through water con­t­a­m­i­na­tion would not be easy. Someone would need access to a large amount of chem­i­cals and be able to dump them in a sen­si­tive spot, which would likely attract atten­tion, said Stephen Flynn, director of the Center for Resilience Studies at North­eastern University.

It turns out to be fairly dif­fi­cult to cause a life-​​threatening level of danger by essen­tially attacking the water system with chem­i­cals,” Flynn said. “You need a lot of chem­i­cals, and it becomes really chal­lenging oper­a­tionally for bad people to do this on any real scale.”

While no one became seri­ously ill in West Vir­ginia, it was hugely dis­rup­tive as 300,000 people went without tap water for at least five days. And the long-​​term effects of expo­sure to the chem­ical are unknown.

Stricter reg­u­la­tion of chem­i­cals and water facil­i­ties would pre­vent such acci­dents and deter ter­ror­ists, Flynn said.

Read the article at NPR →