Many Not Ready to Use Water After Flushing Process

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WSAZ) -- Many people in the Kanawha Valley know the chemical scent all too well.

Now, people flushing their systems are getting another whiff of it. They're also finding dirt and mud in their water, and they're still cautious about using it.

The water may be running clear at Sherry Swayne's home in Charleston, but she's not ready to use it.

"Once you run it for a little bit, that smell starts to come out of it," Swayne said. "I'm starting to smell it now."

Swayne lives in a cleared zone, but she said the flushing process has made her skeptical and nervous for her kids.

"You get an extremely foul smell of licorice. Of course it's leaving something behind. It's crystallized right there," Swayne said.

Dirt stayed in her bathtub after it drained.

"I'm not understanding why it left so much gunk behind," Swayne said.

In her kitchen, the sink was covered in residue.

"This is what it left behind in the sink, right here when I did the flush," Swayne said.

Swayne said the water just doesn't look right.

"Who's going to bathe in that? Who's going to take a shower?"

West Virginia American Water officials said the cleared zones meet the criteria for acceptable use.

Officials said those areas show levels of crude or MCHM are under one part per million.

They said they have no indication the discoloration is from the chemical.

"It should be anticipated that there may be some discolored water in lines from corrosion in the pipes, and we expected this as a much higher velocity of water was moving through the system," said West Virginia American Water spokesperson Laura Jordan.

Still, Swayne said she's not turning on the faucet yet.

"Yeah, that still doesn't even look too good," Swayne said.

Instead, she'll keep using jugs and bottles of water until these issues go away.

West Virginia American Water officials said they've seen discolored water in the mains and from people's homes.

They said they are continuing to test water samples for the chemical.

In all, they said they've tested close to 800 samples since the crisis began.

Call West Virginia American Water if you've seen discolored water at: 1-800-565-7292.

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