UPDATE: Test Results Returned after MCHM Found at GWHS; More Flushing this Weekend

By: Jeremy Edwards Email
By: Jeremy Edwards Email
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UPDATE 2/7/14 @ 11 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Stopping a 6-year-old girl from a daily habit can be difficult.

"It's second nature to her to go brush her teeth in the water," said Marie McDavid. "She doesn't comprehend, she doesn't think about 'well, there's something going on."

It's that "habit" of just turning to the tap that has caused McDavid the biggest fear these past four weeks. She's been able to watch her daughter Autiana at home, but when she's at Bridgeview Elementary in South Charleston.

"We don't know what's happening, we don't know what's going on," McDavid said. "It's very secretive of what's happening, so I think people just want some answers."

McDavid was one of several parents who came to the Chesapeake Community Center Friday night to voice concerns.

Those concerns were spurred by yet another detectable amount of MCHM found at George Washington High School.

George Aulenbacher is the principal at George Washington where levels came back Friday morning at 18 parts per billion, almost twice the governor's recommended "safe" level.

It's forcing the school to go even further to prevent a problem.

"We've bagged all of our sinks, just as a precautionary measure to keep the smell down in case it should happen," Aulenbacher said.

Students are being encouraged to let a teacher know immediately if there is an issue. However, Aulenbacher says there are steps moms and dads can take too, no matter what school they attend.

"Stay informed, talk to your kids, ask questions," Aulenbacher said.

It's all about parents and teachers working together to provide a sense of normalcy that hasn't been felt in about a month.

UPDATE 2/7/14 @ 4:20 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- After detectable levels of the chemical MCHM were found at George Washington High School, more testing was completed Friday.

Due to test results at 10ppb, which is the standard being used for schools to be declared safe, flushing will take place at the school over the weekend.

Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring released the following statement Friday afternoon:
"The Rapid Response Team sampled water at George Washington High School late Thursday afternoon. Three labs independently tested that water. Testing by two labs resulted in a non-detect reading at 10 parts per billion. The third lab detected MCHM at 0.018 parts per million.

That 0.018 ppm reading more than meets the screening guideline for protecting public health provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. However, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has directed the more rigorous screening level of 10 parts per billion.

That result prompted the team to draw an additional sample Friday morning from George Washington High School. Two labs have tested that sample and each resulted in a non-detect reading at 10 ppb. The school will be re-flushed over the weekend and further testing will occur. All results will be made public once they are confirmed.

Members of the Rapid Response Team believe that the 0.018 ppm reading may reflect a variance that can occur given variables in analytical chemistry and the incredible small amounts involve. Team members also note that each lab is certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and continue to follow quality control procedures to ensure accurate results.

The Rapid Response Team, which is made up of individuals from the West Virginia National Guard, the Kanawha Charleston Health Department, the West Virginia DEP’s Division of Air Quality, the Kanawha County Emergency Operations Center and the local school system, has been working with George Washington High School since Thursday.

Kanawha County Schools have followed all flushing protocols and in many cases have gone beyond requirements in an effort to ensure student safety. We also continue to provide bottled water, cook with bottled water, and make available hand sanitizer.

In addition, George Washington High School was tested last week and it was reported at the non-detect level."

ORIGINAL STORY 2/7/14 @ 1 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Detectable levels of the chemical MCHM were found in water samples taken at George Washington High School in Charleston.

Nassandra Wright with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department says water samples from 14 schools in Kanawha County were tested Thursday night. Those results came back Friday.

Wright tells WSAZ.com, the results from testing done at George Washington High School showed levels of MCHM at 18.33 parts per billion.

That's still below the safety standard set by the Centers for Disease Control which is 1 part per million.

Wright says George Washington High School was the only one to come in higher than 10 parts per billion, which is the standard being used for schools to be declared safe.

Lawrence Messina, a spokesperson for the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, says a rapid response team was sent to the school Friday for more testing.

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