Frustrated People March for Safe Water; Want Expenses Paid

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Frustration is growing with the ongoing problems from the water crisis.

So much that Saturday morning more than 100 people marched in Charleston with their message.

Organizers and people at the "My Clean H20 Matters!" march said they've spent dollar after dollar on bottled water.

They said the cost of gas and medical expenses are also adding up and they want to make it very clear that they have no intention of fronting the bill for long.

Angela Adkins is one of many who's taking her frustration to the streets of Charleston. She wants clean and safe water.

"The people of West Virginia are fed up," said Adkins.

Adkins joined more than 100 others marching to West Virginia American Water with signs in hand.

"They have not instilled any faith into the people of West Virginia," said Adkins.

Participants of the march said clean water is important and West Virginia American Water should pay for everyone's water expenses until they can be assured what's coming from the tap is safe.

"It's our water, it's our responsibility, we need to hold people accountable, and we're going to do that," said Rev. Melvin Hoover.

Many of the people in the march sent the water company an invoice for bottled water and other expenses.

"How many trips have went to purchase water, pick up water," said Adkins.

Organizers said something needs to be changed before another crisis.

"People are still afraid, they're concerned, they're anxious," said Rev. Hoover.

For Adkins, this chemical spill hit too close to home.

"My son, my grandchildren, all of them have been coming to my house to bathe and shower," said Adkins.

It's a similar concern for others marching alongside her.

"I don't trust that they say the water is safe," said Pamela Turley.

And these people said they refuse to pay for someone else's mistake.

People also expressed their dissatisfaction with West Virginia American Water's credit on their bills.

They said they shouldn't have to pay a dime until they are guaranteed the water is ok.

West Virginia American Water released this statement Saturday:

"West Virginia shares the frustration people feel regarding the impacts caused by the Freedom Industries chemical spill. That is why West Virginia American Water, on behalf of itself and its customers, objected to certain parts of the Freedom Industries bankruptcy protection filing on the grounds that Freedom was concealing its true ownership, using a proposed emergency loan to put creditors at a disadvantage, and generally failing to provide the bankruptcy court with sufficient financial information about such matters as Freedom’s insurance coverage.

In addition, West Virginia American Water is evaluating the availability of federal and state assistance to address customer concerns.

Although West Virginia American Water is not responsible for the spill, we do have a process in place to receive information from customers who want to inform us of losses resulting from the Freedom Industries’ chemical spill. Our customer service center has been taking contact information from these customers.

A group of individuals brought some documents to our facility today. We respect people’s right to express their frustration about the spill and the issues it has created for our community. We will continue to collect information as we have from the onset of the Freedom Industries spill."


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