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Many Hesitant To Drink Water Until Plant Filters Are Changed

Reported: Mar. 28, 2014 9:51 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 28, 2014 10:32 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katy Brown) -- People in Kanawha County, one of the nine areas affected by the January MCHM spill, are still a bit hesitant to drink their tap.

A Do-Not-Use ban was placed on the water after it was contaminated for more than 300,000 people following a spill at Freedom Industries’ Elk River facility.

A few long and frustrating weeks later, that ban was lifted and people started to use their water again.

"After about three or four weeks later, after it was theoretically safe and the flushing, that's when I started drinking it again," Bill McGrath of Charleston said.

But more than two months later, there are people who are still saying no to the tap.

"They'll have to change the filters at the water plant for me to feel like our water's safe enough to drink," Doshia Petry of Charleston said.

The status of the filters at West Virginia American Water, the water plant in the middle of this water crisis, was a hot topic at Friday's WVTAP Conference.

The posed question: "Why haven't the filters at the water company been changed?"

One of the researchers said because of the large size of the filters, the process is rather lengthy. The water company told WVTAP it could take weeks or months to change the filters and that process is supposedly set to begin on April 1.

However, on Friday, one of the independent researchers, Dr. Andrew Whelton, said the filters at the water plant contain MCHM residue.

Also, tests conducted by West Virginia American Water found the spilled chemical was still coming out in the plant's treated water, but at levels about 2,000 times lower than the safe drinking level.

It’s a reason Petry said is why she's not drinking the tap.

"Use your own judgment,” she said. “If you feel like it's safe then drink it. If you don't, then don't."

The WVTAP expert panel will reveal its findings next Tuesday.



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