Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

January 20, 2014

Some agencies still distributing free water

CHARLESTON — The number of agencies distributing free water hasn't dried up yet. Four distribution sites will be open in Kanawha County today, down from the 23 last week when most of the county was under a do-not-use order from West Virginia American Water Co. following a Jan. 9 chemical spill in the Elk River.

The chemical, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, leaked from a storage facility at Freedom Industries just upstream from the water company's main intake for the Charleston treatment plant.

The spill prompted a state of emergency as 100,000 water company customers (an estimated 300,000 people in nine counties) were told not to use their water for anything other than flushing toilets and fire suppression. The water company slowly gave residents and businesses the go-ahead last week to begin flushing their plumbing systems and lifted the do-not-use orders.

All customers were in the clear Sunday afternoon, but many say they still don't trust the quality of tap water. Kanawha County and its partners have distributed more than 10 million bottles of water and numerous gallons of bulk water from tankers and water buffalos, according to a statement by the Kanawha County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Marmet volunteer firefighters were handing out the last of their water Sunday evening, according to Twitter. "county and municipal workers to make sure people had access to water.

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