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Zones Lifted, More Water Problems

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

Gov. Tomblin Issues Statement

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Tuesday issued the following statement regarding the ongoing State of Emergency in Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam, and Roane counties.

"More West Virginians have seen the DO NOT USE order lifted for their area and have been asked to begin the flushing process. More than one-third of the affected customers have had safe water restored. West Virginia American Water Company reports that samples taken at its treatment plant intake now show no presence of the chemical.


"The DO NOT USE order remains in place for other areas. I ask residents in these areas to be patient and refrain from beginning the flushing process. Please continue to check West Virginia American Water Company's map (http://www.amwater.com/wvaw/about-us/news.html) to find out if your area has been cleared for flushing. This information in also available by phone at 1-800-685-8660.
"The West Virginia National Guard will continue to provide bottled water to West Virginians in the affected counties. Please visit www.governor.wv.gov to find a water distribution center near you or contact your local emergency management office.


"Getting our students back into safe and healthy classrooms is one of my top priorities. Reopening will be determined on a county-to-county basis and will require that specific protocols be met. The Department of Education is working with the local county emergency and health agencies, along with the National Guard, to ensure our schools are properly flushed and cleaned before students return to the classroom. Parents concerned about sending their child to school may contact their school principal.


"I'd also like to express my appreciation to the residents of the affected areas for their patience and understanding. I know this has been a difficult time for both residential and business communities. I ask you to continue to be patient-our team must have adequate time to ensure the safe and stable return of water service to affected areas."

How to Flush Your Plumbing System

UPDATE 1/17/14 @ 12:55 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The “do not use” order has been
lifted for the last customer area in West Virginia American Water’s Kanawha Valley district.

Customers in the Clendenin area may begin flushing according to the established guidelines.

Although the online map currently reflects that all areas have turned blue, customers should keep in mind that precautionary boil water advisories are in place for several smaller groups of customers throughout the district after water storage tanks were depleted following excessive flushing activities.

Earlier Friday morning with guidance from the W.Va. Bureau for
Public Health, the company issued a notice that customers in the towns of Buffalo, Frazier’s Bottom and Pliny are advised to not drink and have limited contact with their water. New water sampling results indicate additional flushing and sampling is required in this area until water quality sampling data can be verified.

The temporary local 24/7 hotline established to answer customer inquiries about the map will be taken out of service at 4 p.m. All customer contact should be directed to our 24x7 Customer Service Center at 1-800-685-8660.



UPDATE 1/17/14 @ 9:15 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The “do not use” water order was
lifted overnight for 420 customers in the Coal Fork, Pointlick and
Campbells Creek areas.

West Virginia American Water says this brings the total number of customers to more than 74,000.

To check your area, consult the map at the bottom of this page.

A temporary local 24/7 hotline has been established at 855-390-4569 for
additional clarification. All other questions should be directed to our
Customer Service Center at 1-800-685-8660.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.




CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The “do not use” water order has
been lifted for an additional 80 customers in the communities of Eskdale, Leewood and Ohley, bringing the total number of customers to 73,700.

“At this time, scientists continue to recommend 1 ppm as a protective level to prevent adverse health effects. However, due to limited availability of data, and out of an abundance of caution, you may wish to consider an alternative drinking water source for pregnant women until the chemical is at non-detectable levels in the water distribution system,” according to the Centers for Disease Control.

A 24/7 hotline has been established at 855-390-4569 for additional clarification. All other questions should be directed to our Customer Service Center at 1-800-685-8660.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/17/14 @ 7:40 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The “do not use” water order has been lifted for an additional 2,500 customers in the Elkview area.

West Virginia American Water reports that brings the total number of customers to 73,600 who can flush their systems. Customers are encouraged to consult the online map to determine their status.

“At this time, scientists continue to recommend 1 ppm as a protective level to prevent adverse health effects. However, due to limited availability of data, and out of an abundance of caution, you may wish to consider an alternative drinking water source for pregnant women until the chemical is at non-detectable levels in the water distribution system,” according to the Centers for Disease Control.

A 24/7 hotline has been established at 855-390-4569 for additional clarification. All other questions should be directed to our Customer Service Center at 1-800-685-8660.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 1/16/14 @ 2:15 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The "do not use" water order been lifted for 1,800 customers in the Big Bottom, Bona Vista, Cemetery, Clover Hollow, Elk Two Mile, and Valley Grove areas.

WVAW says this brings the total number of customers that can flush their systems and use the water to 71,000.

Continue to check the map at the bottom of this story to determine if you are able to flush at your home or business.

A temporary local 24/7 hotline has been established at 855-390-4569 for additional clarification. All other questions should be directed to our Customer Service Center at 1-800-685-8660.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/16/14 @ 6:03 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia American Water lifted its "do not use" water order on several communities early Thursday morning.

According to the company's website, the areas with the ban now lifted include Nitro, Cross Lanes, Dutch Hollow, Danville, Madison, Ridgeview, Julian and Jeffrey.

To see if your home or business can start the flushing process, scroll down to the bottom of the page and put your address in the interactive map. If it shows up blue, you are good to start flushing. If it shows red, you will need to wait until the ban has been lifted in your area.

A temporary local 24/7 hotline has been established at 855-390-4569 for additional clarification. All other questions should be directed to WVAW's Customer Service Center at 1-800-685-8660.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/16/14 @ 12:54 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The “do not use” water order has been lifted for the Mount Alpha and Lower Donnally areas of Charleston, according to West Virginia American Water.

This means the ban has now been lifted for about 57,000 customers.

To see if your home or business can start the flushing process, scroll down to the bottom of the page and put your address in the interactive map. If it shows up blue, you are good to start flushing. If it shows red, you will need to wait until the ban has been lifted in your area.

A temporary local 24/7 hotline has been established at 855-390-4569 for additional clarification. All other questions should be directed to WVAW's Customer Service Center at 1-800-685-8660.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/15/14 @ 11:40 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The “do not use” water order has been lifted for several smaller, isolated pressure zones including Brynwood-Elk River, Beacon Ridge, Brook Hill, Credemont, Crestwood, Milliken, Mile Fork Coopers Creek, Jarrell Addition, Jenkins Hollow, Airport, Air National Guard and Eagle View, according to the latest information from West Virginia American Water.

This means the ban has been lifted for about 56,800 customers.

To see if your home or business can start the flushing process, scroll down to the bottom of the page and put your address in the interactive map. If it shows up blue, you are good to start flushing. If it shows red, you will need to wait until the ban has been lifted in your area.

A temporary local 24/7 hotline has been established at 855-390-4569 for additional clarification. All other questions should be directed to WVAW's Customer Service Center at 1-800-685-8660.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/15/14 @ 10:45 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The “do not use” water order has been lifted late Wednesday night for customers in the southeastern part of Kanawha County, including Marmet, Belle, Chesapeake, Cabin Creek, Pratt and Paint Creek, according to the latest information from West Virginia American Water.

The order has now been lifted for about 55,800 WVAW customers.

To see if your home or business can start the flushing process, scroll down to the bottom of the page and put your address in the interactive map. If it shows up blue, you are good to start flushing. If it shows red, you will need to wait until the ban has been lifted in your area.

A temporary local 24/7 hotline has been established at 855-390-4569 for additional clarification. All other questions should be directed to WVAW's Customer Service Center at 1-800-685-8660.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/15/14 @ 10:40 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia American Water has lifted the "do not use" water ban for areas around Grandview and Allen's Route.

The ban has been lifted for about 51,600 customers, which is about half, according to the company.

To see if your home or business can start the flushing process, scroll down to the bottom of the page and put your address in the interactive map. If it shows up blue, you are good to start flushing. If it shows red, you will need to wait until the ban has been lifted in your area.

A temporary local 24/7 hotline has been established at 855-390-4569 for additional clarification. All other questions should be directed to our Customer Service Center at 1-800-685-8660.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/15/14 @ 6:37 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia American Water announced early Wednesday that the do not use water order has been lifted for the Sissonville area.

With that move, the company reports that the order has been lifted for approximately 52,000 of its customers, more than half of the estimated 100,000 who have been under the order since Thursday of last week.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/14/14 @ 11:55 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Nearly 48,000 West Virginia American Water customers, or roughly half of the customers affected by the recent chemical spill have been lifted from the do not use order.

That came late Tuesday after the ban was lifted for areas in Kanawha and Putnam counties, including parts of Dunbar, Nitro, Poca, Bancroft, Winfield, Buffalo and Staves Branch. Please consult the online map to determine your status.

West Virginia American Water says the W.Va. Bureau of Public Health has confirmed that if you began flushing your home when you noticed this map update or have already flushed your home, you do not need to repeat the process.

The ban is being lifted in a strict, methodical manner to help ensure the water system is not overwhelmed by excessive demand – causing more water quality and service issues. Zones have been established based on the flow of water from the treatment plant through the system.

An interagency team including the W.Va. Bureau for Public Health, West Virginia American Water and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that extensive testing produced results showing that levels of MCHM are below one part per million (1 ppm). The order has now been lifted for approximately 38,000 customers.

A temporary local 24/7 hotline has been established at 855-390-4569 for additional clarification. All other questions should be directed to our Customer Service Center at 1-800-685-8660.

You can check if your zone is in the blue and you can flush, or if you are still in the red do not use zone, by scrolling to the bottom of the page where we have posted the interactive West Virginia American Water map.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/14/14 @ 4:05 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia American Water has lifted the do not use water order for the George Washington area around South Hills.

According to the company, "Around noon today, the George Washington zone was shown blue on the company’s website map prematurely. It was caught immediately and turned back to red. Verification of multiple water tests in this region confirms that water met the criteria at this time and continues to meet the criteria for acceptable use."

West Virginia American Water says the W.Va. Bureau of Public Health has confirmed that if you began flushing your home when you noticed this map update or have already flushed your home, you do not need to repeat the process.

The ban is being lifted in a strict, methodical manner to help ensure the water system is not overwhelmed by excessive demand – causing more water quality and service issues. Zones have been established based on the flow of water from the treatment plant through the system.

An interagency team including the W.Va. Bureau for Public Health, West Virginia American Water and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that extensive testing produced results showing that levels of MCHM are below one part per million (1 ppm). The order has now been lifted for approximately 38,000 customers.

A temporary local 24/7 hotline has been established at 855-390-4569 for additional clarification. All other questions should be directed to our Customer Service Center at 1-800-685-8660.

You can check if your zone is in the blue and you can flush, or if you are still in the red do not use zone, by scrolling to the bottom of the page where we have posted the interactive West Virginia American Water map.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/14/14 @ 2:45 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- After several hours have gone by and no new zones have been lifted from the water ban, West Virginia American Water has apologized for the delay on its Facebook page.

Below is their post:
"We are sorry the next order lift is taking so long. The ban is being lifted in a strict, methodical manner to help ensure the water system is not overwhelmed by excessive demand, thereby causing more water quality and service issues. Thank you again for your continued patience."

Scroll to the bottom of the story to check out the interactive map to see if your zone is in the blue or the red.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/14/14 @ 7:35 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Another zone has been lifted from the "do not use" order Tuesday after a chemical leak last week.

The order has been lifted for the Southridge and Southside areas of Charleston. This means businesses and people who live in this area can begin the flushing process. The ban was also lifted in the Edgewood area Tuesday morning.

A spokesperson with West Virginia American Water tells WSAZ.com if there is any question about if a customer's water is safe, he or she should refer to usage maps provided by the company or call the hotline at 1-855-390-4569. You can find a link to the WVAW's website to the right of this article.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/14/14 @ 6:15 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia American Water lifted a do not use water order early Tuesday morning for people in the Edgewood area of Charleston.

If follows a similar lift made in four zones on Monday.

The ban is being lifted in a strict, methodical manner to help ensure the water system is not overwhelmed by excessive demand causing more water quality and service issues. Zones have been established based on the flow of water from the treatment plant through the system.

WVAW is communicating lift zones through an interactive website, as well as a hotline, which can be reached at 1-855-390-4569.



UPDATE 1/13/14 @ 9:25 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The do not use water order has
been lifted for the North Charleston customer zone, which includes
customers in areas of North Charleston, West Side, Sissonville Drive and Big Chimney, according to information from West Virginia American Water.

Charleston, Kanawha City and South Charleston bans also were lifted Monday.

The lift of the ban in those four zones affects about 26,000 people.

WVAW spokesperson Laura Jordan said if there is any question about if a customer's water is safe, he or she should refer to usage maps provided by the company.

"The web map is the most accurate of all tools," Jordan said. "If there is a discrepancy, customers should rely on the map data."

The ban is being lifted in a strict, methodical manner to help ensure the water system is not overwhelmed by excessive demand causing more water quality and service issues. Zones have been established based on the flow of water from the treatment plant through the system.

WVAW also released the following statement late Monday:

"After lifting the 'do not use' order for 26,000 customers today, the system needs time to settle so our operators can measure how it is reacting to the flushing activity. Therefore, we will not lift any additional zones tonight. we will provide updates on the next lift zone early Tuesday morning. Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation."

WVAW is communicating lift zones through an interactive website, as well as a hotline, which can be reached at 1-855-390-4569.



UPDATE 1/13/14 @ 7 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The do not use water order has now been lifted for the South Charleston area.

West Virginia American Water lifted the ban for Zone 3 about 7 p.m.

Charleston and Kanawha City bans were also lifted Monday.

The ban is being lifted in a strict, methodical manner to help ensure the water system is not overwhelmed by excessive demand causing more water quality and service issues. Zones have been established based on the flow of water from the treatment plant through the system.

WVAW is communicating lift zones through an interactive website, as well as a hotline, which can be reached at 1-855-390-4569.



UPDATE 1/13/14 @ 4:55 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The do not use water order has now been lifted for two zones, which includes downtown Charleston and Kanawha City.

Earlier today, an interagency team including the W.Va. Bureau for Public Health, West Virginia American Water and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that extensive testing produced results showing that levels of MCHM are below one part per million (1 ppm).

The first zone, which includes downtown Charleston and the East End, was lifted today at noon.

The second zone, which is nearly all of Kanawha City was lifted just before 5 p.m.

The ban is being lifted in a strict, methodical manner to help ensure the water system is not overwhelmed by excessive demand causing more water quality and service issues. Zones have been established based on the flow of water from the treatment plant through the system.

WVAW is communicating lift zones through an interactive website, as well as a hotline, which can be reached at 1-855-390-4569.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



ORIGINAL STORY 1/13/14 @ 1:13 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Blue means go was the theme of a press conference Monday afternoon at the State Capitol on the latest with the chemical spill.

Residents in parts of nine counties have been under a do not use water ban since Thursday after a chemical leak at Freedom Industries in Charleston.

As of Monday morning, residents in Zone 1, in Charleston's east end, were permitted to start flushing.

Adjutant General James Hoyer says as of 10:15 a.m., flushing started at the hospitals in Charleston. They started with the hospitals to ensure there was an appropriate level of pressure and time for facilities to start the process.

Hoyer says the flushing will be done in zones. They still have outlying areas that need to be tested.

Officials say if your zone has not been called, do not start to flush your system. They say premature flushing could cause more problems to the system and delay when other zones will be allowed to flush.

Jeffrey McIntyre, President of West Virginia says residents need to follow a strict adherence to the protocols. He says if residents flush early, they will waste water.

A virtual map has been added to the West Virginia American Water website to show customers which ones have been given the go to flush their systems. McIntyre says the system is robust and should be fast, however WSAZ still has not been able to get the map to load.

On the website, if your address is in a blue section, you can start flushing. If your area is still in a red section, it is not time to flush.

When you are in a blue area, McIntyre says to turn on the hot was for 15 minutes, then turn it off. Next, you will turn on the cold water for five minutes, then turn it off. Then you would be able to turn on your outside taps for five minutes. Further directions will be listed on the Governor's and West Virginia American Water's websites.

At this point, McIntyre says it could be days before the entire system is cleared, and that could be longer if people don't follow the zone guidelines.

Randy Huffman with the DEP says they have been working with local PSD's to alert them of the flushing. He says if you are concerned about the flushing, call your local sanitation department.

Jimmy Gianato with the Department of Homeland Security says Lincoln County PSD customers have been given the go ahead to resume using their water.

He also says if you need assistance in the flushing process, call your local emergency management center. Volunteers are being set up to help if it is needed.

Mike Dorsey with the DEP says the material is no longer leeching into the water. Hoyer says over 90% of the tests they have done at the intake to the plant have shown levels close to 0.

DEP officials say there were no problems with fish kills and there is no impact to aquatic life, animals or plant life.

When it comes to future spills, the DEP says they are doing an inventory across the state on storage facilities. They are developing proposals for more proper regulations. They say their main goal is to minimize the risk of a spill.

When it comes to credit, West Virginia American Water says they will give residents credit for 1000 gallons of water. McIntyre says most residents use about 3000 gallons per month.

McIntyre spoke about worries from residents in Huntington and their water. He says the company is prepared for impacts of the spill downstream and crews have been testing water samples on the Elk River, Kanawha River and Ohio River. They say the chemical is soluble and they believe it will be diluted by the time it reaches this area. According to testing done Monday at the Huntngton plant, the chemical was far below 1ppm, which is what the CDC considers safe.

Karen Bowling with DHHR says they are getting hourly updates from the health systems and the flushing is going well. She says there is a slight odor, but that is expected.

Each business waiting to reopen will still have to file a plan with the health department.

Bowling says there have been 231 patients show up to emergency rooms at 10 hospitals for chemical related symptoms. 14 patients were admitted to four different hospitals.

She says the poison control center is receiving fewer calls. Yesterday, they only receive about 100 calls.

State School Superintendent Jim Phares says the best news he can give is the light is on and they are trying to get students back in school as soon as possible.

Phares says Kanawha County officials will be back in the schools today and they are working on a plan for Putnam County Schools. He says they are still waiting to see if Lincoln and Boone County Schools will be able to get back in the classroom Tuesday. "We are not going to rush them back to school if it is not safe," Phares said.


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