CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia American Water Company said Monday that water sampling in 85 percent of its 1,700-mile pipeline system in parts of nine West Virginia counties shows non-detectable levels of Crude MCHM.

An interagency team has been participating in around-the-clock flushing of the system since soon after the Jan. 9 chemical spill on the Elk River in Charleston just above the WVAWC’s Kanawha Valley water plant. The spill contaminated the company’s system in parts of nine counties.

“Through ongoing systematic flushing, sampling and testing, the interagency response team has reached non-detectable levels of MCHM in multiple pressure zones, accounting for approximately 85 percent of our local service area,” WVAWC President Jeff McIntyre said in a Monday evening news release. “In remaining areas where
testing results are above the non-detectable limit, they are still extremely low and only a fraction of the CDC-established 1 ppm health-protective limit. Our team expects that it will take a few more days of persistent flushing and testing before all sample points used throughout the system reflect non-detectable levels.”

Monday evening brought to an end bottled water distribution in Kanawha County. County emergency officials said nearly 11.5 million bottles of water have been given out since shortly after the water emergency began. The total includes 261 tractor trailer loads of water with 44,000 bottles on each truck.

Kanawha County Deputy Emergency Manager C.W. Sigman said things are getting back to normal and the state isn’t receiving large amounts of water from FEMA.

“The county’s position is as long as we have it available from the state and FEMA, we will pass it out,” Sigman said. “These (Monday) are the last three truckloads we think are available. If we get more then we’ll make sure it gets distributed.”

Sigman said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined there is no danger in drinking water from the tap. It’s a recommendation he’s following.

“Personally I use tap water. My wife and I use it. We’re cooking with it. We’re using it,” according to Sigman.

Kanawha County Commissioner Dave Hardy praised the dozens of volunteers who helped pass out the water.

“The amount of time dedicated by local Volunteer Fire Departments, community volunteers, Emergency Officials, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department, and other County employees, in the worst winter weather in years is indescribably heroic,” Hardy said. “The time they spent away from family during this difficult crisis is one of the most unselfish efforts I have ever witnessed. I am asking everyone who received water from these volunteers to please thank those involved in distributing water in your community. This volunteerism has been especially critical to those who are homebound.”

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  • montrose area

    then let them take a sample from my house near Montrose drive. There has got to be some other non detectable chemical in that water for it to still smell of licorice after two weeks and turn my diet pepsi into a foul tasting undrinkable concoction from its ice. I'm not drinking this public kool aid from any fountain in 8 counties until they fix it.

    • Former higher ed guy

      Isn't diet Pepsi and contaminated water one in the same?

  • Richard L.

    Why do we have to stick what Dave Hardy says in everything

  • Ed Wouldn't

    I wouldn't drink the water for at least a year.

  • Licorice Man

    It would be nice to know where the 15% is. Still smelling licorice at our house.

  • Charleston

    Could someone from WV Metronews possibly put in a FOIA to get WV American Water or whomever has those results to get them to the public?


    Yet MORE junk science, they detected non detectable levels, REALLY??????

    • Neal

      Non-detectable means that the level is so low now that it can't be detected by their measuring tools.

  • crybaby

    What the...? I thought non-detectable meant exactly that. So, how can something non-detectable be detected?

    • wv4evah

      Yes, CB..another poorly delivered story. Please explain "non-detectable."

      • The bookman

        It was non detectable in 85% of the system points at which they tested for crude MCHM. It was detected in the remaining 15% of the system but at levels of a fraction of the 1ppm deemed safe by the CDC. With further flushing, they believe they can render the system free and clear of crude MCHM.

        • Wirerowe

          Bookman I praise your tenacity. But you are swimming up stream. Conspiracy theories , hysteria and knee jerk non sequiturs always trump reading and reason. But keep up the good fight.

          • Charleston

            As per Morgan County USA. org:
            "West Virginia Senate Majority Leader John Unger says he’s not drinking the tap water in Charleston.

            When asked why not, Unger said that the U.S. Chemical Safety Board testified to a Senate panel last week that the water wasn’t safe to drink."

            He stated this during Hoppy's Talkline today.

  • crybaby

    What the ...? I thought non-detectable meant exactly that. So how is non-detectable be detected?

  • Gigi

    Keep hoarding people. They are trying to force us into drinking the toxic poison.

    • WVUDAD

      If it is so toxic, especially now that they detected non detectable levels, why are no fish dead, which are MUCH more likely to be harmed than we are????

      • Gigi

        It is in the pipes Daddy, not the river. Are there fish in the pipes?

      • Joe

        Because if there is going to be effects from the poison, it will be months or years from now. Fish are not a good indicator.