CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Nearly five weeks after the chemical spill into the Elk River that contaminated the water for 100,000 West Virginia American Water customers and people are still relying on water trucked in from other areas.

Charleston resident Henry George filled up 10 one-gallon jugs of water at a water distribution site at the Patrick Street Plaza in Charleston Tuesday morning.

“This is actually an opportunity to get a lot of water to bring in the house,” he explained.

George and his family have been using bottled water since the Do Not Use order went into place Jan. 9 and he’s only the using tap water for certain purposes.

“We’ll wash with the tap water. We’ll wash clothes. We might even wash dishes but it’s not a factor of using our water for cooking or drinking,” George said.

And he’s not alone. In a half-hour period, nearly two dozen people showed up to fill jugs, jars and just about any container they had with potable water, at the Patrick Street site.

The most common reason for filling up, at the buffalo, WVAW customers still have doubts about their tap water. “I’m not sure that it’s safe,” said one man.

Ebony Moore of Charleston has two teens. She said she’s been filling up a five-gallon container several times a week.

“I don’t totally feel safe enough to drink [the tap water] or use it for consumption,” she explained.

As for how long she’ll wait until she uses the tap water again, she said it’s going to be a very long time.

“I’d just assume to be safe than sorry and to use the water they’re providing [at the distribution sites] for us.”

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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.

  • Brian

    If there is any bright side to this disaster it is heightened respect for our water. With that comes awareness and education. 6 months ago how many WV water customers even knew what MCHM was? Sometimes the tower must fall before it can be built right.

  • Dim Toad

    I wish they could go back 60 years ago to take samples of the water and compare them with a week after the spill. I'm guessing that the 'sec' taste back then wasn't just chlorine. I agree that we should be working for better water, but hysteria doesn't solve problems, just make them worse.

  • Uncle Unctuous

    When I see a tanker used for water distribution, I can't help wondering what the tanker has transported in the past.

  • C. F. T.

    No way, no how. We customers of WV American are paying for Potiable water, but no official is willing to declare the water "safe"

  • Josh

    When our government comes out & says it's safe, then maybe I'll consider it. But they refuse to.