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Water Company Says Water Samples Show Non-Detectable Or Low Levels Of MCHM

Reported: Jan. 22, 2014 4:10 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 23, 2014 9:29 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Jeff Morris) -- West Virginia American Water officials announced Wednesday that ongoing water sampling and testing results show non-detectable or extremely low levels of MCHM in water samples gathered systematically through the Kanawha Valley water distribution system.

“Data points collected by our interagency team over the past few days indicate decreasing levels of MCHM,” President Jeff McIntyre said. “The majority of samples are reading non-detectable. In areas where sample results show levels above the non-detectable limit, they are still extremely low and only a fraction of the CDC-established 1 ppm health-protective limit.”

McIntyre said that when minute levels of the chemical are still detected, crews are dispatched to continue flushing the area. These areas are generally in the far extremities of the system or near the end of main water lines. All samples in the plant’s downtown Charleston pressure zone have been reading at non-detectable limits for several days. However, the interagency team will wait until all sample points in the system return non-detectable levels before communicating this in light of the CDC’s recommendation for pregnant women to consider an alternative drinking water source until the chemical is at non-detectable levels in the water distribution system.

The process of identifying flushing and sampling points is based on the predicted movement of water from zone to zone and mapped by water system experts from West Virginia American Water and the W.Va. Bureau for Public Health. Customers are able to review water sample data on the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management website at text

On Tuesday, after learning that Freedom Industries identified an additional chemical, referred to as PPH that was part of the Jan. 9, chemical spill, the interagency response team, including the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, West Virginia American Water and National Guard, met to determine the best course of action for retesting historical samples for this newly disclosed material.

According to a statement to the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health on Tuesday evening, the water company said the CDC indicates that given the small amount of PPH in the tank and the initial review of currently available toxicologic information, the information does not suggest any new health concerns associated with the release of PPH. The interagency team has determined that the WVDHHR is best positioned to discuss additional health-related questions about this chemical, the water company said.

West Virginia American Water has multiple laboratories, including MATRIC (Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center) in South Charleston, testing water samples and analyzing data, and the water company said it will share those results when available. The water samples being tested are samples collected both before and after the do-not-use order was lifted.

The water company said customers do not need to flush or take any additional action at this time. The interagency team will communicate with customers the water sample results obtained from this new round of testing.



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