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
Graffiti Painted on Huntington Murder Victim's Residence
News
Apr. 24, 2014 5:41 PM EDT
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Dan Matics) -- An eerie and rather ...
Full News Story

Circus Arrives In Town
News
Apr. 24, 2014 5:40 PM EDT
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Terry Burhans) -- All the animals ...
Full News Story

3 Judges Deciding Mayor's Fate
News
Apr. 24, 2014 5:51 PM EDT
Charleston, W.Va (Bob Aaron)-A three-judge panel heard ...
Full News Story and Video


News Chemical Safety Board Examining Inside Of Freedom Industries Tank
Apr. 24, 2014 5:22 PM EDT
News Ashland School Ordered To Shelter in Place
Apr. 24, 2014 5:02 PM EDT
News Putnam County Man Facing Charges Following Police Pursuit On An ATV
Apr. 24, 2014 4:23 PM EDT
News Major Oil And Gas Firm To List Drilling Chemicals
Apr. 24, 2014 4:05 PM EDT
News Tomblin Sets Up STEM Council
Apr. 24, 2014 4:03 PM EDT
News Construction Worker Killed During Bridge Work In Lawrence County, Ohio
Apr. 24, 2014 4:22 PM EDT
News New Marshall University Basketball Coach Dan D'Antoni Has Deep Ties To School
Apr. 24, 2014 4:00 PM EDT
News Charleston Swears In Six New Police Officers
Apr. 24, 2014 2:29 PM EDT
News New River Gorge National River Fire 90 Percent Contained
Apr. 24, 2014 1:41 PM EDT
News LimeLight Theatre Company Presents "The Three Musketeers"
Apr. 24, 2014 12:52 PM EDT
News Court Documents Say Police Chase, K-9 Unit Led Police To West Side Murder Suspects
Apr. 24, 2014 1:34 PM EDT
News Special Kanawha County Prosecutors Sworn In To Handle Cases
Apr. 24, 2014 1:35 PM EDT
News Fayette County Man To Spend Three Years In Prison For Burning Cats
Apr. 24, 2014 9:57 AM EDT
News Charleston Police Said Young Man Shot Wednesday Night On West Side Has Died
Apr. 24, 2014 12:53 PM EDT
News Judge Bars Plants And Office From Handling Certain Domestic Violence Cases
Apr. 23, 2014 6:51 PM EDT
News Mullens Girls Gather Donations For Charleston Orphanage
Apr. 23, 2014 11:18 PM EDT
News Potential Layoff Notices Worry Miners In Boone County
Apr. 23, 2014 6:44 PM EDT
News 85th Habitat Home Dedicated In Cabell County
Apr. 23, 2014 6:34 PM EDT
News Police Say Bystander Wounded In Shooting On Charleston's West Side
Apr. 23, 2014 10:57 PM EDT
News Local Team Headed To National Cheerleading Competition
Apr. 23, 2014 10:33 PM EDT
News Logan County Woman Reported Missing
Apr. 23, 2014 11:28 PM EDT
News Teenage Girl Killed In Boone County Crash
Apr. 23, 2014 10:58 PM EDT
News Plaintiff In EPA Lawsuit Endorses Lane For Congress
Apr. 23, 2014 9:28 PM EDT
News WV Democrats Call on Jenkins To Condemn Ryan Budget
Apr. 23, 2014 8:50 PM EDT
News Search Called Off In Reported Plane Crash In Kanawha; Plane Lands Safely At Yeager
Apr. 24, 2014 5:00 PM EDT
News Police Say Three Arrested In Huntington Drug Bust
Apr. 23, 2014 10:34 PM EDT
News Kanawha Judge Bars Kanawha Prosecutor, His Office From Prosecuting Certain Cases
Apr. 23, 2014 3:07 PM EDT
News Winfield Getting Multimillion Dollar Sewer Plant
Apr. 24, 2014 5:05 PM EDT
News McDowell Families Displaced After Homes Deemed Unsafe
Apr. 23, 2014 6:34 PM EDT
News Crews Say Progress Made Fighting New River Gorge Fire
Apr. 23, 2014 6:33 PM EDT


Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

West Virginia News
W.Va. governor sets up STEM council

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is assembling a council of education and industry leaders to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics opportunities in West Virginia.
Full Story

Kentucky News
Severe storms loom across central US this weekend

A large section of the Midwest and South are at risk for strong tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash flooding this weekend.
Full Story

Ohio News
Sales stopped on certain bags made by Ohio Mulch

Ohio's Agriculture Department has stopped sales of 1.5 cubic-foot bags of mulch produced before April 6 by a Columbus mulch company, after random testing found the bags weren't full.
Full Story

PREVIOUS NEWS: NOV | CURRENT







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.