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
John Adams Middle School
Kanawha City Elementary
Andrew Jackson Middle School
Sharon Dawes Elementary
McKinley Middle School
George C. Weimer Elementary
Dupont Middle School
Sissonville High School