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.

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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.

  • rick

    I am drinking the water now. Everyone wanted the CDC to is they have and the sceptics still won't believe them. I feel the water is better now because it has been tested. Prior to the spill it was not.

  • et

    Brian CDC says water only needs to be 10ppb,Billion the water auh says 10 ppm Million . The Governor wanted it to be tested at 2 PPB Billion 8 Billion PPB better that the CDC.. and 80 million better than the water requirements How hard is this ... Yes I know there was a scare but it sounds to me it is over. Safe to DRINK.

    • Brian

      @ et - agree with you! I believe it to be "safe" compared to before. As we agree the "levels" have logarithmically improved. Why? My point is 3 different talking heads discussing water standards. Which of these 3 has the legal requirement/is the final authority. Where does the buck stop?

  • Brian

    CDC says "safe." But are they the authority? Time and again I remind folks that we've heard 3 different standards, literally, coming from authorities. The last being 2 ppb from the Governor. The CDC said 10 ppb before and at first it was 10 ppm I believe. Just who is in charge of our water standards?

    • Shadow

      Does anyone know what it really was before the spill? Any place!