CHARLESTON, W.Va. – You may get a knock, on your door, this week. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources along with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are conducting a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response or CASPER study in the nine counties impacted by January’s water crisis.
Dr. Loretta Haddy, state epidemiologist, explained 36 volunteers from the state Bureau for Public Health and the WVU School of Public Health will be collecting data from 210 households. It’s a 34-question survey about the impact of the water crisis on the household.
“It’s a household survey not an individual survey to talk about the impact of the contaminated water spill,” she said.
Twenty-thousand gallons of MCHM spilled into the Elk River from Freedom Industries just up river, from West Virginia American Water’s intake station. A Do Not Use order was put into place on Jan. 9 and not lifted for several days.
Haddy said the survey is voluntary and will only take a few minutes. However, it will give them a better idea of what happened and how households were impacted.
“It will determine the critical needs and the impact on the community that has experienced the disaster,” she explained. “It also helps to characterize the population residing in the post-disaster area including any on-going health effects.”
CASPER studies are done all over the U.S. after major disasters. They’ve been conducted in West Virginia on several prior occasions.
Haddy said the homes that are asked to take part in the survey are randomly selected. If someone comes to your door, they will have official credentials.
Haddy is hopeful those asked to participate will do so because the information they collect is important.
“We evaluate the effectiveness of the relief efforts,” according to Haddy.
All responses to the survey will be kept confidential.