CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The top health officer in Kanawha and Putnam counties said Wednesday he is not reassured by what is happening in the wake of a major chemical spill that contaminated the drinking water for 300,000 people.

“It’s not comforting when we learn 12 days after a major chemical leak into our drinking water that there is another chemical,” said Dr. Raul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston and Putnam County health departments. “This is not the day after, it’s not the week after, this is 12 days after.  This is not reassuring. This frustrates even the best of us.”

Freedom Industries revealed Tuesday, more than a week after the initial chemical spill, MCHM wasn’t the only chemical that escaped from it storage tank into the Elk River above the West Virginia American Water treatment plant. The chemical PPH was also in the tank.

“As a health officer I have still not been formally informed about this second chemical through proper authorities,” Gupta said. “We don’t know a lot about this chemical either, so that’s a concern. We have a lot of questions at this point.”

Gupta said he was frustrated and angry about the entire response. He said it’s understandable why so many are placing little faith in the condition of their drinking water.

“I am not seeing the level of investigatory work that needs to go in and the level at which the public needs to be informed and kept up to date with a lot of this stuff,” he said. “If you’re skeptical and you are frustrated, we share that frustration.”

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Comments

  • Rhenynaldo

    I feel our state government would have liked to sweep this whole thing under the rug faster than the national media.

  • Dana

    I think the BEST bet for WV Water at this point is to go into regions and build man-made lakes they can supply water with to EACH REGION. Its about the only way they will be able to get the trust back from the citizens of these 9 counties. The only reason I'm not already with another company or on well water is because I'm on a ridge and have no choice.

  • PJ Doyle

    I find it appalling that our governor did not ask for a "MERS" Deployment! When our own top level Health Department official is not receiving information through the proper channels, we clearly have a need !

    MERS is one of the many federal resources available after a declared emergency. It is a mobile emergency response unit that coordinates communication pertinent to the emergency between all entities involved.

    To Governor Manchin, we, your WV constituents, have a clearly demonstrated need for ALL the Federal, Stafford Act AND State resources and grants available after a declared emergency! Why have you not asked for them?

    Your decision to stop the emergency distribution of water, based on your determination that potable water is not needed in the affected area for everyone is disregarding the health and safety of the most likely impacted; your agreement to discontinue water deliveries denies every infant, child, pregnant woman, the sick and infirm access to the elixir of life- clean, potable drinking water.

    Had MERS been deployed, maybe we, the residents of WV , and our public health officials would have had accurate and timely information communicated through the proper channels. Maybe the needs of the residents in the affected area would have been communicated to you.

    We still need the MERS deployed; we still need the emergency resources available under the Stafford Act to protect the health and safety of 300,000 residences Governor Manchin. WHY have you not asked for them, and why are you allowing water deliveries to stop?

    • PJ Doyle

      To the moderators, I made a cut and paste error in this post. Each instance of Gov Manchin, should read:
      Gov. Tomblin, Senators Manchin and Rockefeller, Congeress(wo)men, Capito, Rahall, and McKinley

  • Mark

    Not living in the Kanawha valley I don't hear your show but noticed we have common friends on FAce Book and many are interested in what you have to say . I've been interested in And involved in river water quality since 1990 and have been working this water crisis since it began. A voice from 2 hours to the east in WV .
    I am dumbfounded by the lack of outcry in public by those elected to serve the people .
    Many of us are concerned about what we put into our bodies , hence the significant growing business of organic foods and healthy life styles . We now all know some who has had cancers or are battling it right now. Drinking the waters supplied by WVAW is a big chance that it is clean and safe since every home / business is different . There is no way of testing and now reassuring that every district , every home has safe water for bathing let alone drinking. Smell persists , hence so does distrust ! Where are the elected officials leading the way . Living by example and assuring all ? Where are the laws to protect our waters from farther events? Why is it next to impossible for those elected to write and vote for such legislation ? Is industry so entrenched in WV life that those elected crumble under pressure to whims of those that are the paymasters !
    I would like to know these issues are being openly discussed
    Thanks
    Mark
    Ps is there way to hear your show on the internet ?

    Mark
    Alderson
    Sent from my iPad

  • wvtd

    the owners donate to much money to certain politicians to do any state or federal jail time. justice is no longer blind but can be bought with a large campaign donation.

  • Angela Adkins

    The most disappointing thing of all is the government letting American Water Co set the values for the water. Of course they will say the water is fine... they are losing revenue ! And next is my rant about the water distribution center taken by our Governor when clearly he had seen and been told of the rashes and people coming into the ER. He should of at least left the distribution center open for a least another week. And most of all I will bet the tanks fell under either OSHA or DEP to be inspected.. since it was so close to a water source. Now who is covering that up?

  • Pat Fot

    This post is not a political endorsement. However, when we had the UBB disaster the then Governor was visible and informative with every press conference. The updates were timely and comforting. I, for one, felt so frustrated with the Freedom Industries spill in the Elk River. After 10 days, we now have one official after another passing the buck about who was responsible for what. I want to believe that everyone acted in the best interest of the people. However, few made us feel safe and informed. This is unacceptable. Had this been more serious, I am not sure it could have been handled. The late notice of a problem was inexcusable. I want the chance to protect myself and family when there is a danger. Our leaders let us down. Let's hope that the ensuing investigations give us solid, truthful information that we can learn from.

    • WVWorker

      Yeah. Wasn't he the same Governor that ran to the TV cameras and declared that all of the Sago miners were alive? That sure turned out to be real comforting for the people.
      The lesson all politicians should have learned from Joe after the Sago mine disaster was, if you don't know what you are talking about keep your mouth shut.

      • Shadow

        I would expect this to be your last comment!

  • Dodge

    ?? A water system this BIG with just one water intake from one water source ?????

    • PJ Doyle

      It was the only source left as I understand it. Contaminated water sources in WV are the norm, not the exception in this area unfortunately. Sad and appalling isn't it?

  • Beth Campbell

    I live in Buffalo and I'm extremely skeptical about using our water! We don't really know what is in our water! What is this second chemical? We still don't really know what the first one is! After they put a ban on us for the second time, my skepticism grew! Now...it's over the top! They have ceased giving us water entirely in our area and it should have gone longer down here since we were banned twice!! I got blisers and redness on my hands the first time I touched our "clean" water! We still have a

    • Beth Campbell

      I didn't finish my comment!
      We still have a strong odor so something is in our water! I don't buy it that it was OK to use even with the smell! I am already disabled with a lot of health problems so what will this do to me? So... where do we go from here? How are we going to get water now? Are they going to force us to use it by depriving us of bottled water and bulk water now? At this point we are their guinea pigs or rats! Now they'll find out what it will do to people!

  • Rick Ware

    I'm just wondering why Freedom Industries president and board are not in jail? Does "wanton endangerment" not mean anything? If this was anyone else other than big industry it would be considered an terrorist act and dealt with. To me it isn't far from being that.

  • Terrie McKinney

    I read that the crude MCHM has 6 chemicals in it alone. They are like boosters. I read it they weren't testing for each one of these they wouldn't show up. And now we hear of the PPH chemical. My water feels oily and we are afraid to use it. Since they heard of the second chemical why haven't they told us not to use it again, they don't know much about it either. I heard on TV it was not as lethal as MCHM. But we are being told to use the water.

  • Susan Greene RN BSN

    As a medical professional I feel we need to do something! I feel these people responsible for this should serve jail time. hitting them in the pocket will not solve anything for they will just move to another area to do the same thing, or file bankruptcy and take the coward way out, only to re-establish another company under another name. what can we do to keep people like this out of ruining this beautiful state of ours? its not a matter of politics, it a matter of public health. we all need t stick together on our rights! I push for serious jail time, after all they robbed us of healthy water. wouldnt it not be the same if a terroist came in and poisoned us? Jail time for sure. I see no difference in robbing me or poisoning me. Im not wanting to live here anymore. Im scared for my own health and feel I cant even care for someone who entrust me with their health, if I cant take care of my own.

    • Shadow

      If I was in the medical field, I would be careful of handing out jail time for unexpected problems. Medical Malpractice doesn't just happen by Doctors but by Nurses also. Malpractice is just easier to cover up than a tank leak.

  • Karen

    Amazing. And you wonder why people will not trust the water

  • Bill R.

    People are not as important as money.

  • Clown

    Kent Carper is strangely silent through all of this. That clown never misses an opportunity to get in front of a camera and grandstand.

    I'd hide too if I were him.