CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given the water its “safe” stamp of approval, but do residents believe it?
The CDC announced Monday water samples show undetectable levels of the chemical MCHM in nine counties impacted by January’s Elk River spill that contaminated tap water for 100,000 West Virginia American Water customers.
This marked the first time a government agency used the word “safe” to describe the water since the chemical leak. Until now it was deemed “acceptable.” In that announcement, the CDC stressed the water is now safe for pregnant women and small children to drink. However, people still showed up Tuesday at six water distribution sites across Kanawha County to fill up on bulk water.
Violet Mullens of South Charleston was one of them. She hasn’t been drinking or cooking with her tap water since the leak.
“I don’t really know if it’s safe to drink,” she said.
Even the CDC “safe” announcement hasn’t convinced her.
“I’m not sure I believe them. They’ve come out with some many different things,” Mullens said.
Irene Mangus of Charleston said this might be her last trip to the water distribution site at Patrick Street Plaza.
“I think we’ve decided that we’re finally going to drink the water since they said it was safe. I’m going to trust and see and try it.”
Susan Bayles of Charleston remained a little wary but plans to go back to the tap eventually.
“I am probably going to ease myself back into using my tap water,” she said. “But for now, I’m going to fill up while I still have the jugs.”
Danielle Bauer of St. Albans wasn’t sold on the “safe” speech: “I’m still not buying it!”
However, she has made some concessions.
“I’m finally to the point where I’ll brush my teeth with it but I won’t cook and I won’t drink it.”
Bauer said she’ll likely continue filling up at the bulk water sites until they are shut down.