CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Senator John Unger told state Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato Friday he smelled the chemical MCHM in his water again Friday morning when he took a shower.

“I started smelling it again. It went away and now it’s back. I don’t know why,” Unger said. 


State Homeland Security Chief Jimmy Gianato says there are many hurdles to clear with possible in-home water testing program.

The senator asked Gianato, during a meeting of the joint committee on Water Resources, what could be done.

Gianato repeated what’s been said before that a very low amount of MCHM can create the licorice-like odor.

Sen. Unger also shared a story about the strong odor in a Kanawha City restaurant.

“It was pretty bad in the bathroom and people were literally complaining that the smell was coming back and was pretty potent,” Unger said. The senator added the restaurant was near state DEP headquarters.

Gianato told the committee work continues on a possible home testing program. He said the governor’s office is exploring the authority to enter a private residence.

“You can’t just walk in to someone’s home and say ‘We want to test your water,'” Gianato said.

The director said other issues in connection with home testing include plumbing and previous flushing activities.

Gianato said there are several questions.

“How do you get a valid statistical analysis that’s going to be acceptable to everyone? How many homes do you sample? What elevations do you sample? There are a lot of those variables that are currently being reviewed,” Gianato said.

Gianato also said Friday:

–a fire hydrant in Boone County is the last area in the entire West Virginia American Water system not to test below the 10 parts-per-billion level. Flushing was taking place Friday.

–the chemical Crude MCHM “was not listed as a toxic chemical on any of the lists of what EPA calls ‘the list of lists’ that would have been on anybody’s radar”

–he traveled with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to three Charleston schools Thursday after an odor of licorice was detected. “We didn’t see any issues in those schools,” Gianato said. “One of the principals told us they had several students who have stomach viruses and strep throat,” Gianato said.


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  • Gudrun

    It will also increase the ranking of your website on search engines and will drive more traffic to your website.

    But unfortunately not every request will get approved.

    But it seems Memorial Day wasn't important
    enough to Google.

  • rick

    Wow...nobody like their Government until they need it. Remember the Govt. did not have a dog in this hunt. This was an issue between two private enterprises. The Govt (both State and Federal) stepped in to help the people of the State find water to drink. Mr Gianato's agency helped get water from FEMA within 24 hrs of the issue. The President did not have to give a declaration to get FEMA assistance but he did. Seems a lot of you are very ungrateful for the services provided to you during this crisis by a lot of people who worked long hours with short pay.

  • steve

    just another sign of incompetence from the Democratic leadership in this to the bottom in every category since the Dems have been in charge.... Are we in the top 25 in any category except the least amount of alligator attacks??????................................

  • Blugldmn

    I guess the state thinks buying more routers that won't ever be used could fix things.

    How and why does Gianato still have a state job?

  • joe

    Hey cutty77.....last night at the airport you could smell it in the air again..gone today...if you don't think the site is putting a little more in the river during the cleanup then you are real dumbbutt.

  • cutty77

    Quit worring about the smell. Take your showers and go on about your business. This is getting comical, a smell everyday. It maybe 6 months untill this entire system is flushed out. Now we are reporting smells every fricking day.

    • Zoe65

      It's not just a smell, if you smell it you are being exposed to poison toxins. Repeated exposure can accumulate in the body, in vital organs.

    • Lambros Tsuhlares

      I hope you live in Charleston WV, and you are taking some of your own medicine.

  • Russ McDaniel

    My wife and I have done the flushing (strictly) as posted by WVAM Water. We will state that we would be more than willing to offer our residence as a representative site.

  • Michelle

    My parent's neighborhood never had their fire hydrant flushed. Because WVAW does not want to put fire hydrants in any of the neighborhoods where they live.

  • Rita

    The question has been raised that because of the chemicals being added to the mix that the testing being done is for the chemicals as they were.. As one person said you add chlorine to ammonia and it turns into something else.

    • Bill

      What he's smelling is some of the bulls--t our state and federal leaders are spreading.