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Home Water Testing To Begin Wednesday

Reported: Feb. 11, 2014 11:17 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 11, 2014 11:28 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Stefano DiPietrantonio) - In home testing will begin immediately with an independent team Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's office has hired, to test one home in each of the nine counties affected by the chemical spill.

Kanawha is the biggest county affected, so two homes will be tested, making for a total of ten cases. Non-profit groups helped them find the homes they'll be testing. This is only the start of what's going to be a long and expensive process, which we all get to pay for.

"I have committed 650-thousand dollars from my budget to launch this effort,” said Tomblin. β€œIt is time for the political officials to step-aside and let the scientists come in and do the work that we need them to do."

Tomblin called the program, the West Virginia Testing Assessment Project or WVTAP (@wvtap on Twitter) and it will start first thing Wednesday, February 12th.

"It is indisputable, that West Virginians, have been struck by an unprecedented drinking water disaster," said Dr. Andrew Welton, who is part of the independent, 4-person team, which was hired to test the 9-county area.

"The only thing I've asked of this team, is to remain independent, to remain transparent, and to keep an open line of communication with you," said Tomblin.

More than a hundred homes will be added after this initial test group. Tomblin said they will assemble a panel of worldwide experts, to look at the long-range health effect of MCHM, which we still know very little about.

"In fact, there is so little data available, many state and federal agencies could not and still cannot answer all of the questions West Virginians are demanding be answered," said Dr. Welton, who was here when the crisis first broke and even got a first-hand dose of the chemical.

"I can tell you I'm not a medical doctor, but I was in homes and I was chemically exposed to something when I was flushing a room and I because dizzy," said Dr. Welton.

The team will use the same lab we got results from, when we tested the water ourselves a few weeks ago. And hopefully, arrive at the 4-letter adjective, we all want to hear about our water.

"What does the word safe mean?,” asked Dr. Welton. β€œI drink the water here, I bathe in the water here, I believe it's safe for me. but there is a national and international discourse happening right now, about whether the water is safe."

Dr. Welton said the scientific community around the world and federal government must find a way to help West Virginia, so they know how to respond to whichever state is hit with a drinking water crisis like this one next, because it will happen again.

The Governor's office has not released the names or addresses of those homes being tested in the 9 counties, but we are pressing them to go along, so we can show you what's involved in the sampling. The testing begins Wednesday, February 12th and the first round of results are expected back in about three weeks.



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