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Water Cooler Business Booms Following Water Crisis

Reported: Feb. 4, 2014 10:15 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 5, 2014 9:53 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, W. Va. (Kera Mashek) - With a lot of families saying "no" to drinking what comes from the tap, it's creating a boom in the water cooler business. Tyler Mountain Water is really the only company in the Kanawha Valley that offers delivery of water coolers to homes and businesses. As the amount of bad news about chemicals in tap water for nine counties has seemed to just keep coming, it's been good news for business at Tyler Mountain.

Marjorie Cooke is a working mom with two teenagers, so coping with the water crisis hasn't been easy. Since the January 9th chemical spill, she and her family have been using only bottled water.

"It's been frustrating, I have to admit. We don't really know what's 100 percent safe. We're also concerned about our long term health," said Marjorie Cooke of Charleston.

That's why Tuesday, Cooke got an in-home water cooler from Tyler Mountain Water delivered to her home. And she's not alone. Tyler Mountain's seen a huge spike in business.

In fact, since the water crisis began...each week here at Tyler Mountain Water Company, they've been getting about 50 to 60 new requests from customers to get water jugs, ad that's on top of thousands of existing customers who are now requesting more water than ever: to cook, clean, and even bathe with.

"We've been scrambling with our suppliers to bring in additional water to keep up with the demand," said Richard Merrill, president of Tyler Mountain Water Company.

What makes Tyler Mountain water so popular--it's bottled out of state and it's regulated by the FDA.

"They have an extensive quality control to where all the spring water comes from protected sources. The bottling plants are food manufacturing plants and comply with good manufacturing practices established by the Food and Drug Administration," said Merrill.

That's exactly why Cooke feels more comfortable with a new source of water.

"I can just trust it a little more than what I feel I can trust here locally," Cooke said.

Even though the Cookes are committed to steering clear of the faucet today...

Eyewitness News asked, "Do you think you'll ever drink West Virginia American Water from the tap again?"

"I do hope to, yes," said Cooke.

But for now, refillable jugs at the water cooler are giving her family some peace of mind.

In case you're wondering, water coolers start around $20 a month for three five-gallon jugs delivered to your home or business. Also, a West Virginia American Water spokesperson says company does not currently supply water to any bottling company, nor does it bottle any water on its own.



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