UPDATE Wednesday morning–  West Virginia American Water announced late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning additional progress in the lifting of the Do Not Use water order for its customers in parts of nine counties.

The company has now cleared the way for water use for approximately 51,000 of its 90,000 customers. The clear to use flush was given to customers in the Sissonville area of Kanawha County Wednesday morning.

The order was lifted in parts Kanawha and Putnam counties Tuesday night including Nitro, Dunbar, Poca, Bancroft, Winfield, Buffalo and Staves Branch.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Continued testing Tuesday on the West Virginia America Water Company distribution system impacted by a large chemical spill last week turned up 15 locations where quality levels remained above accepted levels.

MetroNews file photo

Some outlying areas continued to show unacceptable levels of chemical contamination on Tuesday night.

West Virginia National Guard Col. Greg Grant said the testing teams anticipated the higher levels of contamination.

“They are in the outer-lying areas of the water distribution system where there isn’t as much turnover, due to the demand, due to the population being lower there,” Grant said.

Following treatment, those areas responded with lower levels of crude MCHM (4-methylcyclohexane methanol), but none of the areas have been cleared from the do-not-use water order issued last Thursday.

MORE: Morrisey’s office joining probe of chemical leak

WVAWC President Jeff McIntyre told MetroNews on Tuesday night the lifting of the do-not-use order by zones is continuing and those customers who have properly flushed their systems can trust the water is safe.

“If they wait until we clear their area and we put the sign up that they are blue (on the company’s interactive map) and then they follow the protocols that we have established and have been approved by the health department, then they’re safe to drink their water,” McIntyre said.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin admitted he had to think twice when using the water for the first time Tuesday morning at the Governor’s Mansion following the spill.

“I had to think about it twice, but it’s there and I feel confident that it’s safe and I’ve used it myself,” Tomblin said.

McIntyre continued to urge customers not to begin flushing their systems until their zone is cleared.

“There are samples out there in the outlying area that still show (chemical contamination), that’s why those zones are red” on the interactive map, he said. “You have to wait—don’t get ahead of the game here. When it’s blue and you follow the flushing protocol, you’re good to go.”

“I had to think about (the water) twice, but it’s there and I feel confident that it’s safe, and I’ve used it myself.” —      Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin upon using water at the governor’s mansion Tuesday

The governor said he believes residents have been extremely patient.

“I think we’ve made a great deal of progress. It’s not gone as quickly as we would have liked, but we certainly do appreciate people’s understanding and patience,” the governor said.

Other things said during Tuesday night’s briefing:

–McIntyre said as of 2 p.m. Tuesday WVAWC is no longer seeing the impact from spill site at Kanawha Valley Plant. “That’s good news,” he said.

–WVAWC reports more than 1.1 million views on its interactive map.

–State Adjutant James Hoyer said 506 samples have been analyzed in recent hours and 15 have registered over the 1 part per million threshold.

–Hoyer said, “It’s taking time we are doing it as quickly as possible.”  He said teams look at the results over every zone with a number of redundancies.

–State-FEMA has sent out 9 million liters of water according to state Homeland Security director Jimmy Gianato. He projected there would not be much excess water left from FEMA, which has only enough shipments to last until Friday.


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  • Mary

    This chemical should not be in our water in any amount. The ban is still in on in my home and no contact is being made with it unless the number is down to ZERO throughout the entire area that is affected.

  • Docbegone

    Thanks for the clarification, Don.

  • Barfly

    Steve WV, how many trial lawyers were down in the sewer with the turtles? Let me guess......all of them?

  • Frequent shopper

    Has Gianato looked around much? There are piles of water on every corner, in warehouses, buildings, porches, basements, decks, garages, and every other nook and cranny. I haven't drunk any FEMA water yet. Where has he hidden 9 million liters? Has he gotten a load for his store hauled to McDowell yet?

  • Steve WV

    I think I seen a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in the sewers of Charleston !!!!!!!!!

  • Joanne

    Last weekend news reports indicated 300,000 people were affected by the water crisis. 50,000 people now with the green light is not HALF of 300,000. So, no we are not halfway thru this crisis. I live at the end of the water distribution line near Amma. It will be days yet before my water will be considered safe, if then. Just how is President Obama's emergency declaration helping me? Last Saturday I received 2 cases of water from the local fire department. Yesterday, it was only one!

  • Craig

    Wvaw has not been honest about anything yet. They have got the be the sorriest utility ever. We are 48 hours into their "flushing" process, and they claim they are half way. They change the story every time. For those if you who have the "safe" water use at your own risk. This stuff is not safe. We must stand up and fight wvaw, we must refuse to pay for bad water. The have done nothing but lie.

    • Agree

      They do seem to move the goal line periodically - but at least they are not promising things which they cannot deliver.

  • Docbegone

    I thought there were 300,000 people without water. Now they are reporting that there are only 90,000. Or are they referring to houses and buildings as customers in this article?

    • Don

      The 90,000 amount involves those residences and/or businesses that are WVAWC customers. Those 90,000 customers involve over 300,000 people.

  • wirerowe

    Is Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler going to file as suit against Commissioner Kent Carper. LOL

    • Don

      Yes they are. Why do you think you see K Carper on the TV so often during this event?

    • I say

      Someone should.

  • Dennis

    WV American Water should distribute in-home test kits. In the press briefings, WVAWC spokespersons are saying that they are told the water is safe, WVAWC is not saying the water is safe themselves.

  • Mike

    Inspections are required for chemical production facilities, but not for chemical storage tanks. A tank storing chemicals along a river has no laws on the books that require inspection. Then John Boehner says today no new regulations are needed as a result of what happened. Now how stupid is that? Hard line Republican leader trying to protect corporate profits while people suffer and get sick. The man is disgusting.

    • Kim

      At what point does the responsibility belong to the business owner? There are OSHA standards for chemical containment and I am sure the EPA has information available. If this containment wall is requiring $1M in repair, this is not a new concern for this company. If companies would follow the required regulations already on the books, there shouldn't be any need for additional ones.

      • WVULINK

        Actually OSHA doesn't care much about containment. They only care about exposures to employees working with or around chemicals. EPA is the agency that sets storage and containment requirements and unless it is a hazardous waste or a oil (petroleum)-based product then the EPA doesn't have many requirements in place for storage and secondary containment. Mike is right about the inspections and Larry is right, it is not a toxic chemical. Therefore it doesn't draw much attention (until now) from the EPA. Its hard to say without knowing all the facts, but there is a good chance that company was actually in compliance with the regulations, because there aren't that many to begin with. Doing the right thing and being a good enviromental neighbor... well thats another story.

      • Mike

        Companies don't follow regulations, that's the problem, unless forced to by the government.

      • Larry

        That's true, I also thought it was funny that the person who asked him the question said "a toxic chemical was spilled into the river" which was a lie, this chemical is non-toxic.