CHARLESTON, W.Va. – From the line of vehicles backed up in a parking lot underneath the interstate bridge in Charleston, one thing is sure — folks still don’t trust the water coming out of the tap more than three weeks after the chemical spill into the Elk River.
Kanawha County set up four bottled water distribution sites Friday morning after West Virginia American Water customers kept up public pressure for potable water. Those sites were in Charleston, Glasgow, Pratt and Clendenin. (see Saturday distribution sites below)
Debbie O’Dell, of Charleston, said she’s not using the tap water and hasn’t since the water crisis started back on January 9.
“I can still smell [licorice] in my tap water and we’re not using it for cooking or even brushing our teeth,” explained O’Dell.
In fact, driver after driver that pulled into the Charleston water distribution site told MetroNews the same thing. They don’t trust the water.
“My wife is pregnant so we’re erring on the side of caution,” said Chris Sattes of Charleston. In fact, he admitted even the dog is drinking bottled water.
There’s been a lot of discussion over the past week about the water company regaining the trust of customers.
“We don’t think the water is safe enough to drink yet,” according to Greg Best of Sissonville.
Jeff Romine of St. Albans said WVAW hasn’t won back his confidence.
“Just to be safe…I’m not going to take a chance with what they’ve got.”
County workers put two cases of bottled water in Debbie Matthews’ trunk. The Charleston resident explained there’s been no information to sway her that it’s OK to drink the water.
“Obviously our water is polluted!”
Janet Thompson of Charleston said she’s not sure if she’ll ever trust water from the tap again.
“First of all they didn’t tell us in a timely fashion [about the chemicals in the water]. Then they didn’t tell us what was in it. Then they don’t know how much they lost,” she stressed. “They don’t know anything.”
As for West Virginia American Water, the company has agreed to purchase another 20 tractor trailer loads of bottled water to be handed out in the impacted communities.
Kanawha County and City of Charleston Have scheduled the following Water Distribution Locations for Saturday, Feb. 1
Crossings Mall – Elkview
Old Big Sandy Parking Lot – Cross Lanes
Clendenin Volunteer Fire Department 12:00 noon
Glasgow Volunteer Fire Department 12:00 noon
Charleston Under the Interstate Bridge Between Quarrier and Lee Street at Northbound from Pennsylvania 10:00 a.m.
Chesapeake Volunteer Fire Department 12:00 noon
Tyler Mountain Volunteer Fire Department 10:00 a.m.
South Charleston – F Street next to Gestamp 11:00 a.m.
All bottled water distribution sites will remain open throughout Saturday afternoon, until limited supplies have been exhausted.
The bulk water sites will remain open throughout the weekend. Additional bulk water sites may be opened and we will notify the media.