CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Water testing continued in parts of nine West Virginia counties on Friday, the day after West Virginia American Water Company issued a do-not-use order for residents in Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, Jackson, Clay, Logan and Roane counties along with Culloden in Cabell County.

On Friday morning, Jeff McIntyre, WVAW president, still could not provide an estimate on when the order may be lifted. “We have run some tests and we can detect the material—there is the material present—but we don’t know how to quantify it,” McIntyre said.

An undetermined amount of a chemical, identified as 4-methylcyclohexane methane, leaked into the Elk River from a Freedom Industries plant on Thursday. The chemical is used to scrub coal.

McIntyre said his company was first notified of the potential problem around noon Thursday and more than five hours before the do-not-use order was issued for an estimated 200,000 West Virginians.

“It’s very miserable not to have drinking water,” said Kent Carper, Kanawha County Commission president, who was working with state and local officials to coordinate water distribution in Kanawha County.

As of Friday morning, McIntyre said there were still many questions about the chemical threat.

WVAW was working with toxicologists from the chemical’s manufacturer to understand the risks that could be associated with the chemical. “In other words,” McIntyre said, “what kind of quantities can be present in drinking water and not pose harm to our customers?”

State officials were also involved in containing and assessing the emergency.

“Our emergency response team has worked to develop a testing protocol and a sampling plan on the chemical at issue.  Initial samples have been taken and additional sampling and testing will continue throughout the situation,” said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Friday morning.

Those with West Virginia American Water Company, the state Bureau of Health and emergency responders were coordinating the sampling effort. “This process will take time, but we continue to work quickly to provide information related to the ability to life the ‘do not use’ order by West Virginia American Water Company,” Tomblin said.

Paul Ziemkiewicz, a West Virginia University professor, had been looking into the composition of the chemical, which he said poses some health dangers.

“If you breathe it, in its pure form, it is a lung irritant. In its pure form, on skin contact, it will cause irritation. If you drink this stuff, you have to drink quite a bit of it in order to die,” said Ziemkiewicz.

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Comments

  • Old miner

    That company treat there employees like dirt most part time and have been for years. Long hours very low pay.

  • wvtd

    I wonder when the first lawsuit will be started? I have a small dog grooming business and it has cost us two days so far and our busiest day is Saturday.

  • ben

    Everyone is taliking about pure strength or diluted levels. Has anyone considered how the chemical reacts to chlorine, floride, soda ash, household cleaners such as ammonia? The reactions with other chemicals can be a serious issue that I havent heard addrerssed.

    • dude

      Ben,
      I have worked in the 911 world for years and to be honest I had the same thoughts while reading all of the articles. Your questions are extremely valid and the incident command, DEP, DHHR and whatever other agencies are involved need to be developing some answers very soon. Also, my question is what kind of birth defects is this stuff capable of producing for a lady who may have ingested it while pregnant?

  • Jonus Grumby

    A good friend of mine is a Hazmat supervisor for his region. He relayed to me while this is a bad situation at the moment, the positive thing is the material involved mixes with water very well and will dilute rapidly. So, it appears a long-term problem is unlikely based upon what's been reported. In the short term though, I wonder about human health issues and aquatic life. When this is all said & done, hopefully those responsible will be nailed to the wall. I'm not necessarily holding my breath for that to happen.

    • frankie

      Skipper, did you ever get off of that island?

  • Grumpy

    Conchop.....you can't blame this on conservatives. Our state has been and will continue to be strangled the democratic party who work hand in glove with big business coal. Read a book about our history. What party has been in power the majority of time? What party is responsible for allowing all the crap that goes on in Logan and other counties?
    Sure as hell its not the Republicans!

    • Jonus Grumby

      Let's not forget "topping" mountains throughout West Virginia by mining companies has polluted many, many of the rivers and creeks throughout the state. The "little" people can't fight the politicians bought by mining and chemical interests that dominate state gov't. I'm a staunch conservative and even I can see that.

  • Aquarius

    Why isn't freedom industries getting involved? It's their chemicals...it's their spill....they're nowhere to be found! They have more skin in this game than anyone!

    • Conchop

      LOL - those guys will be in Mexico pretty soon ...

  • Jim N Charleston

    Glad I am headed to Miami, Florida. Please let this water crisis wipe Jones and Carper off the face of the planet.

    #arrogance-on-parade

  • Cuttysbf

    And now you know why the terrorists wanted to strike our water supply so badly.

  • I'mthirsty

    Other states are reporting this won't be cleared up for weeks.

    You know they're not telling us the full story.

    Sue the bastids!!!

  • Buck

    First class action suit already filed by the bottom feeding parasites.

    • Conchop

      Good - where can we go sign up???

    • Uncle Unctuous

      You tell 'em, Buck! They should be sending greeting cards instead!

      Dear Freedom Industries:

      Thank you for adding the 4-methylcyclohexane methane to the water supply. The taste of regular tap water is so bland and pedestrian.

      Luv 4-eva,

      Bottom-feeding parasites

      • HopsHip

        That's exactly the same thing I would say to Buck. Oops! I just did.

  • Frank / Moundsville

    After the fact, this whole episode will look like a giant clusterf...k, with no harm done to anyone.

  • Hillbilly

    Thank you U.S, Government for forcing us to wash our coal . Another nail in Big Coal coffin . Obummer is grinning from ear to ear !

    • Jason412

      The U.S. Government certainly didn't force Big Coal to put the plant on the bank of a river. The U.S. Government didn't force Big Coal o not report the leak until people started calling 911 about the smell. The U.S. Government didn't force Big Coal to report it was "non-toxic" from 10am to 5pm.

      Last night I posted something similar to what you just said, but I posted it as a joke. Sadly, I knew it wouldn't be long before it was the government's fault and it was all a plan by Obummer and the EPA to ruin big coal.

      As I said last night, if I had to speculate, I would say Obama dumped this into the water himself!

      Person accountability? Who needs it! Everything bad that happens to me is Obama's fault.

      • Mtmama

        This is not a coal company they are a chemical supply company. If EPA focus on what congress told them to do rather than on carrying out an agenda to find ghosts,goblins and hobbits of global warming which congress never told them to do the chances of this kind would be less likely to happen. EPA should be concerned with the health of their citizens instead they are 100% worrying about co2 which has no impact on the health of the citizens. The lawyers should sue EPA as well as Freedom industries. Their hands are bloody as well for not doing the job that Congress gave them to do.

        • GoodGov notmoreGov

          Mama,

          Pay Jason812 little mind. If you were to follow his obviously misinformed erroneous beliefs the Auto Industry Executives would all be held accountable for every fatality caused be a drunk driver.
          And
          I'm sure he holds Wayne LaPierre responsible for the 500 shooting deaths last year in Chicago as well.

      • GW

        Do you ever get out of the house? Those tank farms exist all along the river in this area. One of them leaked, overran the containment area, and made it to the river. The dolts in DC will convolute this to negatively affect coal companies who have nothing to do with storing this chemical.

    • justin

      thank you hillbilly for making wv look stupid with your ignorant comments.

      • Austin

        And justin fefer West Virginia is not stupid we are the best state ever West Virginia. Has a lot of awousomeness

    • Austin

      We'll these here wvginins are not stupid I li inwv where ever you live FYI if it's Texas i❤️

  • HOSA

    REGULATIONS, OH REGULATIONS WHERE ART THOU NOW.

    • Steve

      Yeah some people is this state bash the EPA and regulations, then ask where they're at when things like this happen. The EPA is far from perfect, but if they weren't around, incidents like this would happen more often. Or worse, be covered up as no one would be watching.

  • cutty77

    I heard 7 to 10 Days before its all good to go. After hearing everything about this,that sounds about right too.

    • Larry

      I heard that too, my uncles buddy has a cousin whos dad knows a guy thats wife used to be married to a man that used to work for the water co., and he said it so it must be true.

  • Conchop

    I'm sitting in the middle of all this. I've had to go scavenge water. There is a fear that sets in when the power is out, or the cable or internet is out. But let me tell you, there's nothing to compare with the sense of doom that sets in when they tell you the water's been poisoned.

    WV has been turned into a Evangelical TEA/GOP Conservative State. A lot of powerful and horrible people have come to town, wrapped in the flag, bearing a cross, and loudly proclaiming ' they're gonna take your guns away, they're gonna kill babies in the abortion mills, they're gonna shut down coal '...

    So lets take a look at this mess: You have a privatized water company from Germany come in and shut out a lot of small municipal systems with a game of too much taxes for water - then they jack up the private rates. You have a shady company operating a coal camp chemical racket in an old dilapidated oil tank farm 1 mile upstream from the water company intake.

    What could possibly go wrong???

    We live in a paradise here. But God forbid you should have to draw your water from an area close to a Mountain Top Removal Coal mine, a natural gas fracked well, or a rickety old chemical plant. The clowns that run these operations have bought and paid for their ticket to operate somewhat independent of regulations and the natural order.

    This is going to morph into a lawyers paradise. It should be a wake up call for environmental protection and proper civic planning. Here's why: there are many many many other big and small businesses that are closed today. Money's being lost. Schools are closed. You can't touch the water.

    Mark my words, if you ever encounter poisoned water supplies, you can bet your bottom dollar it was not some tree hugging liberal that did the poisoning. Nope. As with all the major issues our Nation faces, it can be backtracked to some idiotic conservative business plan, war plan, or program.

    We reap what we sow ...

    • Cigarman

      American Water is not owned by Germans and hasn't been for several years. You sound like a misinformed fear monger. The water is fouled it will be ok just will take some time.

      • Conchop

        I stand corrected ...

      • Conchop

        Fear monger??? Why please feel free to go into the affected area and draw yourself a big glass of cool refreshing water...

        • GW

          I have. I drank it all day yesterday. 2,000 gallons in a river with a 7 million gallon flow, and we do not know how much the water plant took up anyway.

        • The bookman

          Or just drive on into St Albans and get what you need...you're surrounded by good neighbors...I am sorry you have lost faith in the safety if your water, but you do live in the Chemical Valley...accidents do and will continue to happen...after things get back to normal, stock a supply of water and some duct tape. It could happen at any time where you live.

    • rekterx

      I've been looking for someone who can explain why monsters live under my bed. I think I've found the person.

    • packfan

      I think Conchop drank too much of the water Thursday afternoon

    • leroy jethro gibbs

      paranoia will destroy ya

      • Conchop

        Paranoia and poisoned water is certainly bad for the system ...

    • NoPartyPragmatist

      YGBSM. Really? You must have lived in this state less than 5 years. Republicans have some faults, but what in WV do they control? Some mayors, but nothing on the state level, which is where environmental issues are handled. And "lawyers's paradise?" Agreed, but then again, most lawyers are Democrats.

      Maybe you should get a clue, run a business yourself, and switch off the MSNBC.

      • Conchop

        I am a business owner ...

        I said Conservatives - meaning D or R ...

        Lawyers paradise - under the circumstances - there's no better constitutional way ...

        • NoPartyPragmatist

          So why not give you your business to the government? If you've ever had an accident on-the-job, you should just give it up b/c under your logic your fail is due to tea party influence.

          You seem to be again blue-dog D or Rs, so you must be a Progressive. Meaning Progressively give your rights to the government because they are the only ones that can do it right. We had Byrd, Rockefeller, and a string of Democrat Governors and nothing ever happened until the voters of WV decided they didn't like creeping socialism? Again, please remove MSNBC from your kool-aid.

          The national Democrats have left WV, not the other way around. They have gone from the party of "Ask not what your country can do for you" to "Don't be afraid of the government, we can fix anything." Most WVs (and Tea Party, for that matter) want to work hard and get rewarded for that. Government, especially the Progressive kind, despises that.

    • Austin

      You can go to the hurricane voltneer fire deparment they are giving out free water for you to drink cook and the point is I'm trying to save u a trip to the er so would you please visit there thank you That would make
      Me be

    • Austin

      Gijjjdjdjfjjkłløīüÿtręwqæßdfghjż. Č. I. N. J. N. I. J.