WCHS Eyewitness News Home Charleston Eyewitness Newsroom Charleston Storm Team Weather Sports News TV Program Schedule Community Mobile: Smartphone,Tablet and SMS text Get Connected SMS Text Facebook Twitter See-It,Shoot-It RSS News Feed Email List Tumblr

Officials Say Numbers Trending Right Direction On Water Crisis; No Timetable Given On Restoration

Reported: Jan. 11, 2014 3:59 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 13, 2014 4:12 AM EST

News Image

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin thanked West Virginians Saturday for their patience in dealing with the water crisis.

While no specific timetable was given, Tomblin said things are trending in the right direction to restore service to West Virginia American Water customers.

Tomblin said the state has made much progress in the past 51 hours, but it was not time to give an all clear to begin the process of flushing water systems, which could take several days.

No specific timetable was given on when flushing will begin.

Customers in Boone, Kanawha, Lincoln, Putnam, Jackson, Clay, Logan, and Roane counties are told not water is not to be for drinking, washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning or bathing. Water should only be used for flushing toilets or for extinguishing fires.

Col. Greg Grant with the National Guard said readings of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol in the water are now going below threshold of 1.0 part per million, the amount set by the Center For Disease Control as acceptable, but the readings were not consistently at that level, which is key to begin flushing.

“The numbers are turning in the right direction,” Grant said, though he added that there are still spikes of the chemical showing up in readings.

Major Gen. James A Hoyer with the National Guard said they hope to run more than 100 samples Sunday and will provide them to the water company and the governor.

Tomblin said the spill was unacceptable and must be cleaned up immediately.

Mike Dorsey with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said Freedom Industries is the responsible party in the crisis and will be tasked with leading the clean-up of the spill site at the company’s location on the Elk River in Charleston.

West Virginia American Water President Jeff McIntyre said that when the time comes to begin flushing the system, customers will be notified on methods to safely clear out hot water tanks and indoor plumbing.

No word was given on the status of schools for the region for the next week.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jimmy Gianto said they are in touch with superintendents and announcements will be made Sunday.

Five people have been hospitalized and 73 have showed up at emergency rooms complaining of problems that may be linked to the licorice-smelling pollutant.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Heath Harrison, Bob Aaron) -- Officials with West Virginia American Water said at a news conference Saturday that it will take many days until water is useable in nine counties affected by a chemical spill at its Elk River treatment facility.

Mike Dorsey with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said about 7,500 gallons of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol leaked into the Elk River from a 35,000 gallon storage tank upstream from the treatment facility.

The DEP had previously estimated the worst case scenario to be a 5,000 gallon leak.

Dorsey said material has stopped leaking from the tank, but could still be leeching into the river from the soil.

West Virginia American Water President Jeff McIntyre said that the water plant must produce safe, consistent testing showing levels suitable for consumption before the system could be flushed and the do not use advisory could be lifted. Flushing of the system could take several days.

McIntyre said water customers unable to do anything but flush with their water will get a free 1,000 gallons of water knocked off their water bill.

The chemical is still showing too high of levels in the water at the water treatment plant on the Elk River, Mcintyre said.

Customers in Boone, Kanawha, Lincoln, Putnam, Jackson, Clay, Logan, and Roane counties are told not water is not to be for drinking, washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning or bathing. Water should only be used for flushing toilets or for extinguishing fires.

Dorsey said he is confident the leak started Thursday because of the presence of a strong odor. He said the presence of the chemical's odor does not pose a health risk.

The DEP said a one inch hole in the storage tank created the water crisis. Dorsey said the chemical has made its way to the Ohio River, but claims it is so diluted, it does not pose a health threat.

Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Executive Director Rahul Gupta said some restaurants affected have reopened after they submitted potable water plans to the health department.

The next press conference on the situation is scheduled for 9 p.m. Saturday.

Help and supplies continued to pour into West Virginia. Emergency officials said 800,000 liters of water came into the state Saturday and more was on the way. Many businesses continue to truck in needed supplies to keep store shelves stocked.

Five people have been hospitalized and 73 have showed up at emergency rooms complaining of problems that may be linked to the licorice-smelling pollutant.

Officials Promote Saturday's Drug Take-Back Day
Apr. 23, 2014 1:13 PM EDT
CHARLESTON W.Va (Fallon Pierson) -- If you have old ...
Full News Story and Video

Police Say Bystander Wounded In Shooting On Charleston's West Side
Apr. 23, 2014 1:16 PM EDT
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Taisha Walker, Jeff Morris) -- Charleston ...
Full News Story and Video

Potential Layoff Notices Issued To Miners In Boone County
Apr. 23, 2014 1:17 PM EDT
WHARTON, W.Va. (Jeff Morris) -- Patriot Coal Corp Wednesday ...
Full News Story and Video

News Kanawha Magistrate Ward Harshbarger Faces Ethics Charges
Apr. 23, 2014 11:52 AM EDT
News Road In Lawrence County, Ohio, To Face Intermittent Closures For Debris Removal
Apr. 23, 2014 11:19 AM EDT
News Man Charged With Stealing Credit Card From Elderly Victim
Apr. 23, 2014 11:23 AM EDT
News Suspect Accused Of Forging Prescriptions In Scioto County
Apr. 23, 2014 11:28 AM EDT
News Two Pedestrians Struck By Vehicle In Floyd County
Apr. 23, 2014 11:11 AM EDT
News Boil Water Advisory In Effect In Clay County
Apr. 23, 2014 10:00 AM EDT
News Flags Flown At Half-Staff In Honor Of Mick Staton
Apr. 23, 2014 9:19 AM EDT
News Elephants To Chow Down At Annual Feast Thursday In Charleston
Apr. 23, 2014 9:22 AM EDT
News Bible Verse Removed From School's Gymnasium, Team's Website
Apr. 23, 2014 8:42 AM EDT
News Officials Discuss Path Forward From Water Crisis
Apr. 22, 2014 11:36 PM EDT
News Officials Say As Many As 108,000 Experienced Health Issues From Chemical Spill
Apr. 22, 2014 11:04 PM EDT
News Marshall Could Increase Tuition
Apr. 22, 2014 11:06 PM EDT
News Findings Released On Kanawha Plane Crash
Apr. 22, 2014 11:03 PM EDT
News Candidate Forum Held In Putnam County
Apr. 22, 2014 11:02 PM EDT
News St. Albans To Vote On Fire Levy
Apr. 22, 2014 11:01 PM EDT
News Kanawha Co. Forum Identifies Drug Abuse, Obesity Among Top Concerns
Apr. 22, 2014 10:29 PM EDT
News Tennant Calls Conservative Group's Voter Registration Mailing "Misleading"
Apr. 22, 2014 11:07 PM EDT
News Huge Subdivision Coming To Poca
Apr. 22, 2014 6:33 PM EDT
News Eyewitness News Town Hall Tuesday To Tackle Post-Water Crisis Issues
Apr. 22, 2014 6:26 PM EDT
News St. Albans Voters To Consider Fire Levy
Apr. 22, 2014 5:48 PM EDT
News WV DHHR Appoints Three Deputy Secretaries
Apr. 22, 2014 5:07 PM EDT
News WV Supreme Court Says There Is "Good Cause" To Hold Hearing On Request To Suspend Plants
Apr. 22, 2014 5:57 PM EDT
News Barbour County Couple Pleads Guilty In Toddler Methadone Death
Apr. 22, 2014 3:08 PM EDT
News WV Chemical Safe Level For Water Based On Two-Week Exposure, Not 100-Plus Days
Apr. 22, 2014 1:39 PM EDT
News Local Children Plant Pinwheels For Abuse Prevention
Apr. 22, 2014 2:00 PM EDT
News NTSB Releases Preliminary Information On Plane Crash That Killed Two In Kanawha County
Apr. 22, 2014 6:25 PM EDT
News Law Enforcement Officers From All Over The State Train for Drug Interdiction
Apr. 22, 2014 2:12 PM EDT
News Freedom Industries' Run-Off Water From Spill To Be Disposed Of In Ohio
Apr. 22, 2014 12:53 PM EDT
News Public Input Sought On Storage Tank Safety Rules
Apr. 22, 2014 12:44 PM EDT
News Huntington Man Found Guilty Of Two Counts Of Murder
Apr. 22, 2014 11:07 PM EDT

Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

West Virginia News
W.Va. group wants family resource funding restored

A nonprofit coalition is urging Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to restore $1 million in state funding for early childhood and other family resource programs.
Full Story

Kentucky News
Soldier's remains returned to Paducah for burial

The remains of a Paducah soldier, who disappeared during World War II, have been sent home.
Full Story

Ohio News
Restaurant sues ex-Cardinal Edmonds over name

A Cincinnati restaurant owner is suing former Cardinals outfielder Jim Edmonds over the name of the Precinct, a restaurant he co-owns in downtown St. Louis.
Full Story


Fugitive Files Tuesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

West Virginia Wildlife Wednesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

ABC News web site

Send Mail Send email to news@wchstv.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2014, WCHS-TV8. Portions are Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.

WCHS ABC 8 provides local news, weather forecasts, traffic updates, notices of events and items of interest in the community, sports and entertainment programming for Charleston and nearby towns and communities in the Tri-State area, including Huntington, Dunbar, Marmet, Montgomery, Nitro, South Charleston, St. Albans, Cedar Grove, Chesapeake, Clendenin, East Bank, Glasgow, Pratt, Cross Lanes, Elkview, Pinch, Sissonville, Big Chimney, Cabin Creek, Chelyan, Davis Creek, Institute, Jefferson, Loudendale, Mink Shoals, Pocatalico, Quick, Quincy, Rand, Buffalo, Eleanor, Hurricane, Nitro, Poca, Winfield, Culloden, Fraziers Bottom, Hometown, Red House, Scott Depot, Teays Valley, Danville, Madison, Hamlin, Logan, Chapmanville, Man, Delbarton, Kermit, Gilbert, Matewan, Williamson, Summersville, Richwood, Flatwoods, Gassaway, Sutton, Spencer, Ravenswood, Ripley, Mason, Point Pleasant, Ashland, Pikeville, Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, and Athens.