CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said there was a sigh relief in his office Friday afternoon when the final zone impacted by the water emergency went blue but he said he knows a simple changing of the map does not end what started more than a week ago.

Tomblin said he believes the water running through the West Virginia American Water system in the nine impacted counties is safe but realizes it may take a while for residents to fully trust it.

(See latest map here)

“We are going on the best information available from the CDC. We are within the safe limits,” Tomblin said. “If people are not 100 percent confident, it’s a personal choice. There’s bottled water available and until people feel comfortable with it they are going to have to make that choice.”

The final zone to go blue Friday afternoon was Clendenin in Kanawha County. A chemical storage tank owned by Freedom Industries leaked approximately 7,500 gallons of crude MCHM into the Elk River just above West Virginia American Water’s large distribution plant. The spill was first detected Jan. 9. The water company issued a Do Not Use water order for customers in the nine-county region. The last zone cleared Friday afternoon was Clendenin in Kanawha County.

Tomblin said 15 million bottles of water have been distributed in the impacted counties. He said that will continue into next week.

“I’ve asked the director of Homeland Security to place additional orders,” the governor said.

The West Virginia National Guard will continue working with other experts on the water testing. State Adjutant General Jim Hoyer said the water in the system will be tested at parts per billion, not million; to make sure the water system is safe.

West Virginia American Water urged some residents in Putnam County Friday not to use the water because of higher testing levels. Hoyer said he wasn’t sure if other zones might experience the same problems in the future. Hoyer said the water coming out of the Kanawha Valley plant has been at non-detectable levels since last Monday night.

State Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato said Friday at the direction of the governor he is preparing a request for a major federal disaster declaration from President Barack Obama.

Other information released by the governor’s office Friday:

–Gianato said at some point the delivery of water from FEMA would stop. “The private sector is back up and functioning and they have plenty of supplies. Eventually we won’t be able to continually supply water for everyone,” he said.

–Gov. Tomblin said he’ll introduce a bill Monday in the legislature dealing with above ground storage operations. He said it empowers the DEP to implement a program. The bill will also require water systems to have plans in place to prepare for emergencies.

–Gov. Tomblin asked residents not to take more free water than they need.

 

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Comments

  • Don

    We are smart enough to use personal choice to determine when to drink water with 4-MCHM in it....

    But not smart enough to exercise personal choice to buy our own health insurance.

    Got it.

    • Don

      "Seasoned" lib politicians should choose their words more wisely.......

  • stevewvu

    "State Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato said Friday at the direction of the governor he is preparing a request for a major federal disaster declaration from President Barack Obama."

    Are all of you hard core right wing Fox news watching republicans going to stand for this? Is West Virginia really going to ask Obama for federal funds/assistance? I thought we were tired of the government getting involved in WV's affairs. Despite the fact that we have industries that pollute our water (And rest assured the air as well) we don't need Obama or the federal gov't's help in this matter. All the republican congressmen and senators from all those other states will take care of West Virginia. Fox news said they would.

    • BigMo

      Why all of these politicians hate Obama because he's agin coal....Earl Ray won't stand for Obama money coming to this state. Say it ain't so Earl Ray.

  • stevewvu

    I don't know about you guys, but I feel so much better that Jimmy Gianato is helping out with this situation. This is the same guy who authorized the purchase of those $12,000 Cisco routers to be deployed to small gov't agencies such as that trailer in Marmet with one computer.

    I think I'll be drinking bottle water for many more months to come!

  • wvtd

    the water still stinks and water is still being handed out. I heard on the radio that water will be given out until sometime next week. does not seem like we know the whole story and I have my doubts about it being safe to drink. I want to see the owners of freedom chemical, the local politicians and wvaw supervisors to drink it first if it is.

  • J the C

    This may turn out to be the greatest scandal in the history of our state, and everyone involved should be fried!

    • Rose

      Not fried.......just make them drink the water...they could add Kool-aid to it to make it more tasty.

  • water boy

    Yea, let's ask President Obama for assistance and aid after this state has hated and vilified the man ever since he took office. Good thing he's a bigger man than many in this state.

    • J the C

      amen!

    • Ted

      Maybe the state can ask the unknown jailbird from Texas they voted for President, I'm sure he'll be willing to provide disaster assistance.

      • stevewvu

        Unfortunately we are reaping what we sowed. This state didn't want the EPA around, because it was Obama's EPA. And Fox News said that Obama was taking away our freedoms. So West Virginia said we will let or chemical and coal companies regulate themselves.

        300k West Virginians without water shows how well corporate self regulation works.

    • Mountain Man

      We don't need Barry helping us out. We already have enough liars involved in the clean up and response effort.

  • William

    Tomblin's office will be passing out KOOL-AID tomorrow!
    Come drink all you want, the KOOL-AID will never run out!

  • ron "from morgantown"

    When a West Virginia map goes blue - that's always a good thing !

    • SPRUCEKNOB

      sure. that is why our state is in the shape it is in. Democrats have been in charge of the state since its beginning.Keep drinking the Democrat Kool Aid. BTW speaking of the Democrats and their hand outs to the non working welfare in this state should we change our state motto? How can we be Mountaineers are always free when we have some many citizens standing by the mailbox for government handouts each month?

      • susanf1218

        Maybe the state motto should be changed to "Mountaineers get everything for free".

  • Big Deal

    Yet to see ERT or McIntyre drink the water

  • 19WVU76

    "Tomblin said he believes the water running through the West Virginia American Water system in the nine impacted counties is safe but realizes it may take a while for residents to fully trust it."

    Yeah, right! Go ahead, put your faith in a politician, if you want to.

    • Mountain Man

      Exactly. I don't believe Gov Tumble or I mean Tomblin about anything. If his lips are moving, he's telling them lies again.

      • BigMo

        He's missing some teeth that's way he sounds funny. I thought the state had a dental plan?

  • not safe

    The gov said it's safe.
    That's good enough for me.
    Yea, right.

  • Big Deal

    It makes me uncomfortable that they keep referring to testing at the water treatment plant. If I would expect it to be the cleanest there. There are too many reports still of the smell and people breaking out in rashes. Shouldn't they be testing at the end of the system (our homes)? WVAW needs to up the 1,000 gallon credit and continually be flushing.

  • Uncle Unctuous

    Tomblin said "If people are not 100 percent confident, it’s a personal choice."

    Replace "it's a personal choice" with "then it's clear they are paying attention" and he's right on the money.

  • Sonny

    "Map goes blue, governor says water safe" The Great White political god has spoken, now when will we hear from Carper and Jones. The map may be blue BUT THAT DOES NOT MAKE ME BELIEVE THE WATER IS SAFE TO USE. (except to flush the toilet.).

    • J the C

      Sonny, it may not be safe even for toilet flushing. Our wonderful AG had better get on this, and quick. I find this extremely suspicious.

  • Rob T.

    I have eaten and drank a lot of bad things in my time! but if I can smell the licorice I aint drinking it! Or I'll just add a little whiskey that should kill anything in it......

    • Randy c

      You can't kill a chemical with alcohol... wish it were that simple.