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.
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.
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.