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


Frustrated WVAW Customers Rally Against Water Company

Reported: Jan. 18, 2014 9:54 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 18, 2014 10:02 PM EST
EYEWITNESS NEWS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO

News Image

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katy Brown) -- Water service was back online Saturday for all customers who were under the do-not-use order this week, but a lot of people still weren't using it, worried it will make them sick.

After the water crisis started just more than a week ago, there was an initial spike in sicknesses from people who drank the water or bathed in it before the ban went in effect.

But as water has come back on and the ban lifted, there have been countless reports of new symptoms showing up.

That's why a few growing Facebook groups decided to protest at the state Capitol, hoping their actions might get answers.

If you were to ask the Devaneys why they chose to rally against West Virginia American Water, their answer was simple:

"The baby,” Stephanie Devaney said. “We have children. We don't want our children drinking this water or being in this water. We've seen the effects of what's happened."

Dozens of people gathered at the Capitol to voice their opinion on the current water situation.

Many of them said the contaminated water has negatively affected them.

"It turned my hair green,” Stephanie Devaney said. “It did. I was a blonde."

Her husband, Tom, was sent to the hospital with flu-like symptoms.

"They said I had exposure to contaminated water and I was spitting up like foam," he said.

On Monday, West Virginia American Water started lifting the do-not-use bans.

By Friday, all affected areas were cleared for flushing, and the water company ensured customers the water was once again safe to drink and use.

But those gathered at the Capitol had their doubts.

"This right here, I know you can't smell this on television, this is straight out of my tap this morning and it smells like licorice,” Josh Scott of Charleston said. “I won't put my kid in it. I won't put my wife in it. They say it's safe. It's not safe."

Even with water use bans lifted, the number of patients being treated for health problems related to the water scare has only increased.

Several people are claiming the water caused them to get sick, everything from skin and eye irritation, to vomiting and diarrhea.

And those rallying insisted it was all because the water company put money over people.

"If they were a nonprofit or not for profit, would they have turned the water back on this fast?” Scott said. “I don't think so. I don't think they would have."

Several lawsuits have been filed against both the water company and freedom industries, but a curveball was thrown when Freedom filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday, putting those lawsuits on a temporary hold.

“They're not going to take any responsibility for the damage that's done to my daughter or anybody else's family that's in this valley,” Cindy Harrah-Cox of Charleston said. “They're throwing us all under the bus, and I think that's wrong."
And now this group of frustrated water customers is hoping their outspoken actions will help get all their questions answered and the water completely chemical-free.

"We will stand up for ourselves,” Stephanie Devaney said. “We're not going to back down. You know we deserve fresh drinking water. We deserve clean water."

Another rally is set for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the capitol.

West Virginia American Water responding to customer concerns Saturday.

"I certainly agree with them,” Laura Jordan, with the water company, said. “I certainly understand and it's what we want, too. We would be right out there next to them, believing that all customers should have safe drinking water, a good drinking water source, and that's what we've been working on ever since this chemical spill last Thursday. Our employees have been working around the clock with government agencies, the National Guard and the Beareau for Public Health to try to remedy this chemical spill and how it affected our water resources and get that public confidence back.”



MORE NEWS FROM EYEWITNESS NEWS
Nissan Expands Recall Prompted By Faulty Airbag
News
Jul. 29, 2014 10:41 AM EDT
Nissan is recalling more than 226,000 additional vehicles ...
Full News Story

Proposal Calls For Backup Drinking Water Source At Coonskin Park
News
Jul. 29, 2014 10:21 AM EDT
Two men have submitted a proposal calling for a mountaintop ...
Full News Story

Police Say Man Arrested After Allegedly Stabbing Roommate In St. Albans
News
Jul. 29, 2014 10:00 AM EDT
St. Albans police said a man has been arrested for ...
Full News Story


News Northbound Lanes Of East River Mountain Tunnel On I-77 To Close For Damage Repair
Jul. 29, 2014 10:05 AM EDT
News Freedom Industries Pays $11,000 Fine In Chem Spill
Jul. 29, 2014 9:38 AM EDT
News Police Arrest Two Involved In South Charleston Theft Cases
Jul. 29, 2014 9:13 AM EDT
News Capito To Speak At EPA Hearing
Jul. 29, 2014 8:58 AM EDT
News Huntington Fire Ruled Accidental
Jul. 29, 2014 9:28 AM EDT
News One Lane Of I-64 Eastbound Traffic Reopened After Vehicle Accident
Jul. 29, 2014 9:27 AM EDT
News Police Say Shots Fired In Charleston's East End
Jul. 29, 2014 9:25 AM EDT
News WV Man Sentenced To Five Years In Drug Gang Probe
Jul. 29, 2014 9:20 AM EDT
News WV Union PAC Gets $250,000 Check
Jul. 29, 2014 9:19 AM EDT
News Weekend Tornado Confirmed In WV
Jul. 29, 2014 9:18 AM EDT
News Huntington Police Investigating Shooting
Jul. 29, 2014 9:11 AM EDT
News Community Supports Huntington Fire Victims
Jul. 29, 2014 9:14 AM EDT
News Sparking Brakes Triggered Truck Tunnel Fire
Jul. 28, 2014 11:30 PM EDT
News Virginia Court Ruling On Gay Marriage Could Have WV Implications
Jul. 28, 2014 10:32 PM EDT
News Dem Vows To Fight For Coal, GOP Calls Claims "Hypocritical"
Jul. 28, 2014 6:36 PM EDT
News Gunshots Scare Families In Small Hurricane Neighborhood
Jul. 28, 2014 5:56 PM EDT
News Drums Across Tri-State This Evening At Laidley Field
Jul. 28, 2014 6:05 PM EDT
News Man Accused Of Stabbing Girlfriend After She Threw His Meth Into Woods
Jul. 28, 2014 4:54 PM EDT
News Aldi To Open Store At Teays Valley Shopping Center
Jul. 28, 2014 4:54 PM EDT
News Man Accused In Robbery Has Bond Terms Modified
Jul. 28, 2014 4:22 PM EDT
News Ohio Woman Sentenced In WV Embezzlement
Jul. 28, 2014 4:09 PM EDT
News Huntington Museum Hosts Arts And Bots Nature Camp
Jul. 28, 2014 3:39 PM EDT
News Morris Building Tenants Worried About What Comes Next
Jul. 28, 2014 6:00 PM EDT
News Ohio Authorities Say Indictments Could Put Dent In Drug Trafficking Organization
Jul. 28, 2014 2:31 PM EDT
News Advocacy Organization Applauds Federal Court Ruling That Declares Va. Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional
Jul. 28, 2014 3:19 PM EDT
News WV Attorney General $950K Settlement With Three Companies
Jul. 28, 2014 2:20 PM EDT
News Businesses Extend Helping Hand To Employees At Two Restaurants Affected By Huntington Fire
Jul. 28, 2014 2:03 PM EDT
News Dirty Girl Mud Run Says Its Assets Have Been Acquired By Human Movement
Jul. 28, 2014 1:40 PM EDT
News Firefighters Say Morris Building Fire Believed To Be Accidental
Jul. 28, 2014 2:02 PM EDT
News West Virginia American Water To Conduct Public Tour
Jul. 28, 2014 11:58 AM EDT


Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

West Virginia News
Proposal calls for mountaintop lake in Charleston

Two men have submitted a proposal calling for a mountaintop lake in Charleston that would serve as a backup drinking water source.
Full Story

Kentucky News
Police: Man fatally shoots wife, other man

Police say a northern Kentucky man has killed his estranged wife and another man before shooting and injuring himself.
Full Story

Ohio News
Akron schools to pay autistic child's education

The Akron school district has agreed to pay just over $100,000 a year to send an autistic child to a private school after a longstanding challenge by the child's parents.
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.