CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Kanawha County schools said late Wednesday it would no longer use Ice Mountain bottled water after complaints of smell and taste.

The water has been tested by the DHHR and no bacteria has been found but the school system said it’s collected all of the Ice Mountain bottled water that was being used in 14 schools and replaced it with other bottled water.

Kanawha County schools have been using bottled water since schools reopened following the water emergency.

The bottled water problem surfaced earlier this week when complaints came at Andrew Jackson Middle School, John Adams Middle School and Sharon Dawes Elementary.

Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Director Dr. Rahul Gupta said he embargoed the Ice Mountain water made by Nestle from those three schools and demanded testing.

“We found that there were legitimate concerns about not just the odor but also the taste of that water,” according to Gupta.

The taste has been described as “musty.” Dr. Gupta stressed as soon as he got word about the problem, he took action.

“I ordered a complete embargo of that particular lot of the water.”

All schools in the county have been notified about the embargo in case they have any of that particular water in use. All Ice Mountain Water in the Kanawha County School Warehouse has been taken out of circulation.

The expiration date on the water is April 2014. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, unopened commercially bottled water will keep safe indefinitely, as long as the bottles remain properly sealed and aren’t damaged.

The state DHHR released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying the water has been tested for bacteria and the tests came back negative.

“On February 11, 2014, DHHR took immediate action to test the bottled water at our State Lab for total coliforms, which is an indicator for the presence of bacteria. Those results were negative, indicating that the water does not contain any harmful bacteria. The Bottled Water Program has been in contact with the manufacturer regarding the taste and odor concerns and samples have been submitted to the company for further testing and investigation.”

Dr. Gupta said health department inspectors have tasted the water themselves and say there is definitely something off.

The Kanawha County school system has sufficient bottled water in storage to replace what’s been taken off the shelves.

Even though testing showed no bacteria in the water, Ice Mountain bottled water was removed from the following schools:

Andrews Heights Elementary School

Nitro High School

Carver Career Center

Piedmont Elementary

John Adams Middle School

Kanawha City Elementary

Kenna Elementary

Andrew Jackson Middle School

Sharon Dawes Elementary

Bridgeview Elementary

McKinley Middle School

George C. Weimer Elementary

Dupont Middle School

Sissonville High School


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  • Pure Water Warrior

    The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), and the American Red Cross published a document titled “Food and Water in an Emergency“; it recommends only three ways to purify water during an emergency – boiling, chemical disinfection and distillation.

    In fact, the CDC published a document titled “Drinking Water Treatment Technologies for Household Use“, and found distillation systems to be one of the most effective methods of drinking water treatment.

    Steam distillation is the only purification method that will consistently provide 99.9% pure water.

  • steve

    uh we are not looking for bacteria Im more worried about carcinogens....................

  • Hillbilly

    That Health Department actually has rolls of tape that say EMBARGOED on them ????? Is this a regular thing??

  • Polly the Pundit

    Some of the water that came into Sissonville from FEMA had actually expired. A few of the boxed "5 Year Drinking Water"s had mold on them. It appeared as if FEMA cleared out its warehouse in Cumberland Maryland.

  • rick

    FEMA water stocks are in storage for a long time because they never know when or where they will be needed. If you smell check every commodity that remains in storage it will develope an external musty smell. The contents are perfectly fine as long as the seal is good. Water stocks last for many years.

  • Hillboy

    A negative total coliform test does not guarantee that there are no bacteria in the water---it only indicates that there are no coliform bacteria in the water. There can still be non-coliform bacteria present that could cause a taste and odor problem. A Heterotrophic Plate Count should have also been conducted.

  • joy

    WV should b thankful that leak didn't come from Dupont or Dow chemical. You all do realize the chemical that killed all those people in India is made in Charleston. I was told this by people who have first hand knowledge of this but as long as your local politicians are getting their pockets lined they don't care. Wake up WV.

    • Rich

      You don't have to be told by people with knowledge of it, it's common knowledge, especially to anyone living in the Kanawha Valley.

      It was also all over the national and international news after the deaths in India.

      And a google search will reveal it pretty handily as well, likely on wikipedia.

  • brenda

    Different brand of water but I just bought a case at a store. Expiraration date was June 2012 and it tasted bad. Cant believe it would last forever. Check your dates people. Iwill from now on.

  • Sad

    Im reading the comments and Im amazed at some. When did we stop being The UNITED STATES of AMERICA? WV is a part of our Union. So are they...our neighbors. Have things gotten so bad that we care more about typos,politics and whether or not someone smokes (it's dumb but it's legal) than what happens to childrens drinking water? As for me i do not live in WV but hope Im smart enough to know todays WV could easily be
    tommorows Minnesota.
    Lastly you turn off your lights tonight remember you too are part of the human race.

    • Cigarman

      What are you posting about?

    • MCruise

      I agree but there are some issues to consider.

      First, one state's policies are not another state's policies. A state like WV is poorly regulated by choice. It is a state that allows companies like Freedom Industries and Patriot Coal to operate without proper oversight and without any means to accept legal and financial responsibility when their negligence results in damages to public resources. And why not? When the crisis hits, the federal government will always step in to socialize the losses. There are no disincentives for West Virginians to do anything differently.

      If you happen to live in one of the progressive states in the nation that does have strong regulations in place to protect the environment and that makes the tough choices for the betterment of its citizens, and you happen to also be a donor state that contributes far more in taxes each year than you ever get back, then the notion of having to bail out the states that fail to do the right things over and over again gets old and has gotten old. West Virginia is a welfare state, meaning that it gets back far more each year than it contributes in taxes. Add to that these bailouts...these socialization of the losses incurred or created by the private sector operating in an unregulated state...and taxpayers in the more responsible states have a right to demand that West Virginia get it's crap together and start doing the right thing or start footing the bill for it's own disasters.

      It's called tough love. It's long overdue.

      • Shadow

        No, it is not Tough Love, it is CA and they are broke and everyone is leaving.

      • Penelope WV Moutaineer and I PAY taxes in WV

        What perfect state do you come from?

      • Damion45

        Isn't closing down the coal companies the real federal regulatory oversight to stop these public health hazards?

        And don't forget to turn the lights off when you leave for a better regulated state...if they haven't gone off already...

  • Dale

    Isn't Nestle actually owned by Freedom Industries?

  • Larry

    This water thing is getting absolutely ridiculous, hasn't anyone ever heard the term PSYCHOSOMATIC!

    • Rich

      There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the water we've been drinking these days.

      I've heard the term condescending pr+c* too... It may apply to you.

      • Larry

        This is bottled water, the source of which is nowhere near the sewage filled mouth of the Elk River, idiot.

  • william

    Fact - Most bottled water come out of the tap!

  • Colleen

    we bought the ice mountain 2.5 gallon jug from Walmart and noticed it has a funky taste. I thought I was imagining it until I read this article

  • What next now

    Dr Sanjay Gupta is on a roll. If they keep getting him on the radio and tv pretty soon he will be getting a little blue light to put on his car and a gun like Barney's with bullet in it. The he I'll be going out making citzen's arrests and be on good morning America once a week.

  • Misty

    My daughter complained of that right after they went back to school. This was at Hoover & the water was Sam's in the blue lid. She described it as "it smelled like carrots."