Fort Gay water customers told not to drink, use water

Residents have reported their water smelling like oil.
Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 3:46 PM EST
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FORT GAY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Residents in Fort Gay are being told not to drink their water due to possible contamination.

The Fort Gay Water System issued a do-not-consume advisory Monday.

The Fort Gay treatment plant is shut down following an issue that may have caused contamination by petroleum products.

Fort Gay Mayor Joetta Hatfield said a couple customers told her Monday they noticed a diesel or oil smell in their water. She said she contacted proper officials, and crews with the state Department of Health and Human Resources have collected samples of water to be tested.

Fort Gay Water serves a little more than 700 customers, and the mayor says people should not use the water for anything other than flushing until they get test results, and that’s not expected to happen until Tuesday afternoon or evening at the earliest.

The Wayne County Office of Emergency Management said the DHHR is testing to see if petroleum contaminates are in the water system.

Residents who are affected can pick up bottled water at Fort Gay City Hall that was dropped off by the National Guard. The mayor is asking residents to be patient.

“This has been a difficult and surprising situation,” Hatfield said. “Hopefully, we can get to the bottom of this sooner than they’ve said and get us back on track.”

The mayor says they brought in drinking and cooking water to Fort Gay pre-k through 8 school. She said they’ll be getting more bottled water for residents if this situation isn’t resolved soon.

Billy Zeek lives on Cedar Heights Road in Fort Gay and described the water coming out of his faucet as smelling “like 3-in1-oil.”

“It’s not a very comforting feeling,” Zeek said, “especially when it’s to that point. If it smells like 3-in-1 oil, what does it mean when we take a bath? What does it mean when we wash our clothes?”

It is unknown when the water will be safe for consumption and use.

There’s no word on what caused the possible contamination.

Gov. Jim Justice commented on the situation Monday.

“The people who have to step up and provide us with information and keep us safe in this great state are the DEP, DHHR, and Homeland Security,” Justice said. “In this kind of situation, they’re all on it.”

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