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UPDATE: Extensive Water Testing Hot Topic at City Council Meeting

By: Cathleen Moxley, Amanda Barren Email
By: Cathleen Moxley, Amanda Barren Email

UPDATE 2/18/14 @ 9:55 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A plan to move forward with more water testing in Charleston city limits was the hot topic at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

The plan includes testing three homes in every ward, along with hotels and businesses in the city.

Mayor Danny Jones is also considering testing homes with different pipes, such as plastic and copper, to see the different effects. Jones said he believes this extensive testing will help repair the hit he believes the city will take because of the chemical spill.

"Our brand has been damaged more than any of us know," he said. "We do not know the knowledge of the extent that our brand has been damaged."

Jones said he plans on working with a company from Ohio for the testing. He said he'd like to work with crews from West Virginia, but he'd like the testing to be impartial.

There are still many details that need worked out. More information should be available by Wednesday.

Keep clicking on for the latest on this story.

UPDATE 2/18/14 @ 5:40 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Restoring trust in the water is no easier now than it was nearly six weeks ago when a massive chemical spill contaminated the water for hundreds of thousands.

It's having a negative impact on West Virginia’s Capital City.

Therefore, Tuesday night, the mayor is proposing a plan that would let people know exactly what is flowing into their homes and businesses.

Mayor Danny Jones wants the water to be tested extensively.

“They can come to my house and test. I wouldn't mind it, because I still believe the water is poisoned,” Tabatha Boukhemis, from Charleston, said.

“I have a lot of friends on Facebook that don't think the water's safe. I have relatives who don't think it's safe,” Jones said.

Jones is now seeking solid evidence that the water is safe; not only for the sake of those who live here, but also for visitors.

“We try to get people to come to this city and to stay here. We're gonna run into trouble because of this,” Jones said.

He says he’s talking with a company from Ohio that could test water in businesses like hotels and houses. Jones is hoping to test several homes in each of the city's 21 wards. That would equal out to more than 60 houses.

Positive results would be promoted for tourism, but if the results are negative, Jones says people still deserve to know.

“That's another creek we're up without a paddle. That's a problem. If that happens, I don't know what we'll do,” he said.

When it comes to the extensive testing, many say they’re on board.

“Yes, they need to test to find out what's going on,” Charleston resident Yolanda Wilcox said.

Most are even okay with spending their tax dollars on it.

“Our health is worth it. Our lives are worth it,” Boukhemis said.

Others though, want the money to come from somewhere else.

“I think the people that's responsible for the spill should have to pay for everything,” one man said as he filled up containers at a water distribution center.

Jones does anticipate this process costing tens of thousands of dollars -- possibly more.

He says money might be used from an incentive fund, which is normally used to bring entertainment to the Capital City.

He also plans to raise some of the money privately. However, it's very likely that at least some of the money would have to come from the pockets of taxpayers.

The proposed testing is set to be discussed at the city council meeting at 7:00 p.m.

ORIGINAL STORY 2/17/14 @ 8 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Mayor Danny Jones says he wants more testing done on the water in Charleston city limits.

Jones told by phone Monday night that he will ask council at its meeting Tuesday night to move forward with a plan -- one he hopes will repair the financial hit he believes the city will take because of the chemical crisis.

At this point, Jones said he is not sure how much money it will cost, but the mayor said he wants "extensive testing."

Talk about project specifics will happen at Tuesday's meeting.

Keep clicking on for the latest on this story.

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