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New More Sophisticated Tests Show MCHM At W.Va. American Water Treatment Facility

Reported: Mar. 25, 2014 6:16 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 25, 2014 6:26 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kennie Bass) - New, more sensitive tests show no MCHM in the Elk River flowing into the West Virginia American Water Company treatment plant.

However, those same tests showed trace amounts of the chemical at less than one part per billion in a home near the facility. That led investigators to focus on the plant itself as a source of MCHM.

Is it correct to say that there is MCHM still in the water treatment facility?

"It's not unexpected," Laura Jordan, spokesperson for West Virginia American Water said. "For these test results to indicate that MCHM that's been effectively captured by our filter material may be showing up in trace amounts in the finished water leaving the water treatment plant."

Seven tests conducted Friday and Saturday show MCHM levels in the finished product emerging from the water treatment facility ranged between non detectable and 0.53 parts per billion. The water company says one part per billion is the equivalent of one drop in a large tanker truck or one second in 32 years.

However, those figures don't calm customers who say they want zero amounts of MCHM in their water.

"I think that's terrible," Margaret Lapp of Elkview said. "And they should do something about it. Something should be done so this doesn't happen again."

It is suspected that trace amounts of MCHM are in the treatment facility's carbon filters, which are set to be replaced next week.

"We will be changing out the carbon in our filters as soon as conditions allow," Jordan said. "We had committed to our customers we would be doing it this spring. And in fact, hopefully with our weather conditions we will be able to being this process next week."

"And if they change them and check the water, then it's okay if it's clear," Lapp said. "If not, something else has to be done. This is ridiculous."

Jordan said it should take about two months to replace all of the treatment plant's 16 carbon filters.



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