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Water Company To Begin Changing Filters

Reported: Mar. 31, 2014 11:22 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – (Stefano DiPietrantonio) - First thing Tuesday, West Virginia American Water begins the long task of changing out all of its water filters. The water company said both production volumes and the weather, are why they've not been able to tackle this yet.

But even in the past week, as that funny licorice smell again showed-up in people's homes, the specter of the initial water crisis came right back! The filter change-out can't happen soon enough for some folks.

"We still buy bottled water to drink with. for tea, coffee, juice," said Christy and Scott Wade of Charleston. They still buy bottled water, mostly for their kids, twins Wesley and Walter and big brother Oliver.

"Even at school they're a little scared, like should we or should we not,” said Christy Wade. “I don't know what to say though."

"Will that make you trust the water any more, hearing that the filters are being changed?,” we asked her. “I don't know honestly,” she replied. “I don't know."

They cook with tap water in limited doses now, but initially, no way with that funny smell in the water.

"When people were telling you, it's safe, go ahead and start drinking it, start cooking with it, did you immediately run out and do it?,” we asked Scott Wade. “No,” he replied. “Because you could still smell it."

"Yeah, we had it for several weeks at our house and it even made me really nauseated and had some burning in my eyes," his wife said.

Now, almost 3 months out. Scott said he drinks coffee made with tap water at work.

"I haven't smelled it for a while,” he said. “I'm feeling pretty comfortable with it. It makes me feel a lot better they're changing the filters."

"Finished water, leaving the treatment plant, is all below 1 part per billion, which is a thousand times less than the CDC's health protective screening level," said Laura Jordan, who is a spokesperson for West Virginia American Water.

The old filters caught trace amounts of the MCHM, but the new, activated carbon filtering can trap a lot more than traditional methods. But changing out nearly 60,000 pounds of activated carbon per filter is a massive undertaking, about 2 to 3 days each and there are 16 filters.

"The goal of changing out the carbon in all 16 of our filters at the treatment plant, demonstrates our commitment to our customers," said Jordan.

The Kanawha Valley Plant continues to produce water, which meets all drinking water standards and CDC guidance. Two filters will be changed each week, which should take about 8 weeks to complete the entire carbon filter change-out.



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