CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Thursday evening he’s instructed the state Department of Education and West Virginia National Guard to do additional water testing in the school buildings impacted by the Jan. 9 chemical spill and the water emergency that followed.
The testing will be done this weekend under 2 parts per billion in parts of nine counties.
“We have been testing water in all of our schools at the governor’s more stringent level of 10 parts per billion which is 100 times more rigorous than Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s recommend level of 1 part per million,” state Adjutant General James Hoyer said in a news release. “After testing thousands of lab samples, chemists can now confidently test at 2ppb. This additional safety factor is one more example of how the governor has gone above and beyond the federal recommendations to bring added confidence to parents, students and staff to ensure the highest level of public safety.”
The test results are expected to be back by the middle of next week. If a school comes in over 2ppb it will be reflushed and retested.
State School Superintendent Jim Phares applauded the governor for taking the additional steps.
“We are taking every precaution because we know that parents trust us to keep their children safe,” Phares said.
West Virginia American Water also announced late Thursday its entire nine-county system has tested for levels of MCHM below 10 parts per billion, a level 100 times below the CDC recommended 1 part per million.
WVAWC President Jeff McIntyre said the company would continue to test the system and flush it in order to get rid of the odor that lingers.
“We share our customer’s concern and anger over the impact the Freedom Industries spill has had on our community,” McIntyre said. “We know that odor has added to their concern, regardless of levels, and we will continue to flush our distribution system to help address this issue.”