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Kanawha leaders start to receive water testing samples along Paint Creek following Turnpike wreck

PAINT CREEK, W.Va. — Kanawha County officials have started to receive water testing samples from the state after a chemical spill off a West Virginia Turnpike bridge impacted the Paint Creek watershed.

Deputy County Manager Andrew Gunnoe told the County Commission during its Thursday meeting 14 samples have been returned, two samples need to be retested and five more samples have been sent to the state for testing.

Kent Carper

“I’m not satisfied with that,” said Commission President Kent Carper after hearing the update.

Last month, a box truck crashed along the Skitter Creek in Fayette County, shutting down the Turnpike for 18 hours. The material, alkyl dimethylamine, was being hauled and leaked directly into the creek killing the fish downstream.

The county is working with Governor Jim Justice’s office and the state Department of Environmental Protection to address the issue.

Paint Creek residents have been without access to their well water for more than a month, leaving them unable to wash dishes, take showers or drink from the faucet.

“The people of Paint Creek deserve to know whether their stream is forever corrupted and we’re going to find out. We’re not just going to do seven tests and forget about it,” Carper said.

Carper said testing will be done on every well in the entire Paint Creek area.

“All I know is it killed all the fish,” he said. “People live there and they have wells there so we’re going to stay on top of this.”

There are 36 homes along the creek that are still without well water.

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