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

  • Austin

    • Austin

  • Austin

  • Austin

  • Austin

    What kind of cimical is in the water that is so bad that it can kill you ❓❓❓❓❓❓❓❓❓❓

  • Brian

    has anyone noticed during these disasters we have had over the the last several years how people sit around in a panic listening to the radio,waiting for the government to give them instructions on what to do. can people no longer think for themselves and make common sense decisions. dont worry everybody FEMA will take care of you.

  • Larry

    I have not drank any of the affected water, and am not even in that area but I am experiencing all of the side effects, what should I do?

  • GFletcher

    How much is "you have to drink quite a bit of it in order to die" On effect is Myocardial necrosis...just cause you don't die does NOT mean harmless.

    • Austin

      So it won't make u die

  • HOSA

    LET'S SEE, THE REPUBLICAN LED HOUSE JUST PASSED A BILL GUTTING HAZARDOUS WASTE REGULATIONS.THE GOP WANTS TO GET RID OF GOVERMENT REGULATIONS DUE TO COMPANIES ACTING RESPONSIBLE BECAUSE SUPPOSEDLY THE "FREE MARKET" WILL PUNISH THEM IF THEY DON'T. I THINK OUR TAX REVENUES SHOULD BE REIMBURSED BY THE COMPANY WHO HAD THE SPILL WHY SHOULD ALL THE PROFITS FROM THE COMPANY BE PRIVATE, YET THE SPILL AND CLEANUP BEING DUMPED ON THE TAXPAYERS TO FOOT THE BILL. THE TAXPAYER DIDN'T CAUSE THE MESS, THE COMPANY DID.

  • richard

    it's huggins and dana's fault!! they get blamed for everything else.

  • Church Lady

    Coal keeps the lights on ... and the faucets off.

    • Mike

      Good one

  • 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.