CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The spokesperson for West Virginia American Water Company says those with the company are still in talks with state officials about protocols for possible home water testing in areas where do-not-use water orders were issued following the Jan. 9 chemical leak on the Elk River.
Laura Jordan, though, said WVAW officials do not think such home testing is necessary since, she argued, ongoing testing in other areas continued to show levels of MCHM were non-detectable throughout most of the company’s 1,700 mile long water system in parts of nine counties.
“When we confirm that the water in the water system is at completely non-detectable levels, that is the water that is then entering into customers’ homes. That’s the water that goes right up to their water meters, through the mains, right in front of their houses,” said Jordan on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
She said, more than a month after the leak, WVAW was providing water with largely non-detectable MCHM levels and going out to do repeat flushing in areas where there were continued odor complaints.
“That is sufficient for making sure that the water entering customers’ homes is also at acceptable levels, but we’ll continue to work with the governor’s office,” said Jordan.
“We are looking at a plan to go in to sample certain homes,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said earlier this week. Those with WVAW, the Bureau for Public Health and the West Virginia National Guard were discussing protocols, but no such plan had been finalized as of Friday.
Jordan said many variables are involved in home testing. “The part of a customer’s in-home plumbing, service lines to their home, etc., those are not fixtures that we own, that is not something that our employees are authorized (to do) to go into customers’ homes to do any type of work,” she said.
“That is where we have drawn the line, is making sure that our system and the water going to customers’ homes, through our system, is perfectly acceptable.”
On Wednesday, House Speaker Tim Miley (D-Harrison, 48) and House Minority Leader Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha, 40) sent a letter to Gov. Tomblin requesting that a representative sample of homes be tested for crude MCHM and PPH. They asked that the state conduct the testing and West Virginia American Water Company pay for it.