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WV American Water Responds To Customer Concerns

Reported: Jan. 18, 2014 10:13 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 18, 2014 10:55 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Dave Benton) –The do-not-use ban is now over for West Virginia American Water customers, but the question still remains: Is the water safe?

People are seeing their water discolored, saying it smells weird or that it is leaving a residue. In some cases, people are getting sick. According to water company and health officials, this is normal.

Laura Jordan, with West Virginia American Water,was asked if people should drink or use their water if it smelled like licorice.

“The water is safe to drink,” Jordan said. “Safe to consume and for washing and cleaning. We understand there may be that odor. It can be detected much lower than what the lab can detect. It doesn't mean it's not safe - just trace elements at the parts per billion level or beyond.”

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin hosted a community conference call with the state's health officer, Dr. Letitia Tierney on Saturday and was asked why the water unsafe for pregnant women to drink, but safe for everyone else.

Tierney answered that doctors routinely advise pregnant women to avoid consuming a number of things including caffeine, alcohol, or hot dogs. Fetal cells are developing, which is why they're encouraged to drink bottled water until there are no longer detectable levels of MCHM in the water system.

Also, what is causing burns and rashes if people are using safe water?

Everyone has different sensitivities and, as we move through the flushing process, sediment has been stirred up from your hot water tank and pipes. Some may be coming through the shower. The rashes are short-lived and easily treated with over the counter products.

Why are so many people going to the hospital? It's flu season, and many people haven't been able to consistently wash hands with soap and water. No one has been seriously ill. No one remains hospitalized.

Is the water harmful to pets?

According to state veterinarian Dr. Jewell Plumley, there are no known risks to livestock that may have been exposed to the water.

The water company recently released a frequently asked question sheet that can also help dispel myths and rumors.

"So we put that together,” Jordan said. “We have a very helpful FAQ page, hopefully, to address some of those questions and concerns and let people know that their discoloration is due to mineral deposits that are already in the water system and in the pipes in your home, as well as in water mains and hope we can address some of those questions this way."



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