Erin Brockovich

Can I use the water?

No, until the distribution system is free of “detectable” levels of chemical, the water should not be consumed or used in any way that will allow it to be inhaled.

WVAW answers nothing and puts the responsibility off onto others and only “concurs”. The conclusion that the water is now safe for all uses came from experts at the CDC, with concurrence from the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health and the USEPA. According to the CDC, the 1 part per million was calculated conservatively using multiple safety factors. This level was achieved throughout the distribution system several weeks ago, and before the “do not use” was lifted. In fact, Dr. Tanja Popovic, the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Environmental Health’s representative at Governor Tomblin’s Feb. 5 news conference stated… “With all of the scientific evidence we have and with everything that numerous people have worked on so far, I can say you can use your water however you like.”

Sadly, this answers nothing. What about the answer to these questions regarding water use:

What byproducts were formed by mixing the water with chlorine and fluoride?

What are the regulatory levels for these byproducts?

How long will the chemicals and the byproducts, many of which are regulated in parts per billion or trillion, be present in the water?

Can WVAW demonstrate using their hydraulic flow model they have flushed the distribution system?

Who is responsible for removing the chemical and the byproducts from out water heaters and appliances?

What does non-detect mean?

Non-Detect is an arbitrary level WVAW selected to represent whether the chemical is present in the water or not. It does not mean the chemical is gone.

The non-detect level was established by the interagency team as less than 0.01 parts per million (10 parts per billion) of MCHM, which is 100 times below the standard established by the CDC. West Virginia American Water continues to work with the National Guard to sample and test the water as we continue to flush the distribution system to remove any detectable traces of MCHM and bring it down to non-detectable levels, which has already been achieved in the majority of the distribution system.

The use of the word or phase “Standard” is not only improper it is unlawful… there is not standard for MCHM in Drinking Water and there will never be a “Standard”.

Clearly WVAW admits they are still flushing their own distribution system of MCHM… why then did they direct the customers to flush chemicals into their homes, schools, restaurants and places of business while they continue to “flush the distribution system to remove any detectable traces of MCHM”?

So, why can I still smell the licorice odor?

Because the chemicals are still in the water as are the more dangerous byproducts.

Public health officials have stated that odors may remain in the water for a while, but that does not indicate a problem with the water’s safety. The Safe Drinking Water Act does not classify odor as a health risk, only as an aesthetic aspect to be removed if possible. Nevertheless, we fully acknowledge that the odor has caused concern and that is not acceptable to us. That is why we will continue to work until the odor from the MCHM is removed from the system.

If you can smell it, it remains present as do scores of other dangers chemical byproducts.

How long will it persist?

What is being done to flush the tanks and reservoirs throughout the distribution system?
Are the tanks going to require cleaning?

Why didn’t you shut down the water intake to your plant?

Because WVAW does not have an emergency response plan or a source water protection program as required by multiple laws.

As of January 9th, the Kanawha Valley system had experienced a significant number of line breaks caused by extreme cold associated with the polar vortex followed by warming weather. Because of the line breaks and customers letting their water drip to prevent freezing of their pipes (which we encourage), the system storage was low and losing water even though the water treatment plant was running at near full capacity. Shutting down the plant would have quickly resulted in loss of the entire system, meaning no fire protection and sanitation for approximately 300,000 people. Further, starting the plant back up after the chemical leak was stopped or contained, then replenishing and re-pressurizing the entire Kanawha Valley distribution system, would have taken more than one month even under optimum conditions.

There is truth in this answer; however:

Where is WVAW’s emergency response plan?

What about the Source Water Protection Program?

Why have the byproducts been ignored?

Why was the Granular Activated Carbon filter media expired?

Why has the filter media not been changed out yet?

(Image Attribution)