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Large Number Of Phone Survey Respondents Express Concerns About Safety Of Water

Reported: May. 12, 2014 3:20 PM EDT
Updated: May. 12, 2014 5:00 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Bob Aaron, Jeff Morris) – More than 50 percent of the Kanawha County respondents in a phone survey conducted about the effects of the water crisis said they did not believe the water was safe even after the do-not-use order was lifted.

The remaining results of the survey were released Monday during a news conference at the University of Charleston. About 500 people responded in the survey that was conducted by the Kanawha Charleston Health Department.

The response showing that more than half of the respondents did not believe the water was safe after the do-not-use order was lifted shows a dramatic shift in the public’s confidence in the safety of the water. Nearly 90 percent of the respondents said they believed the water was safe before the Jan. 9 chemical spill that contaminated the water supply in nine counties.

When asked how they were using the water, more than 96 percent said they are using the water for showering or bathing; more than 95 percent for washing clothes; more than 86 percent for washing dishes; nearly 51 percent for cooking; more than 62 percent for brushing teeth; more than 85 percent for hand washing; more than 36 percent for drinking; more than 43 percent for watering plants; and more than 39 percent for pets.

As far as ongoing needs or concerns, the survey found that more than one-third or 37.8 percent of the respondents said they had ongoing needs or concerns and had comments in the following categories:

* Sixth-tenths of the respondents were concerned about either the water quality or the water company including the filter changes.

* One-quarter respondents criticized the timeliness, accuracy or truthfulness of information received, or expressed distrust.

* One-fifth of respondents were concerned about the health effects, illness or safety.

* One-eighth of respondents were concerned about the personal/community economic costs.

* One-eighth of the respondents raised the question of how to prevent further events, or suggested more regulation.

Release of the remainder of the results follows a preview last week. In that initial release of information, it was reported that nearly 32 percent of the respondents had someone in their household who had an illness related to the spill. The results also indicated there was a high level of distrust in the truthfulness of officials in the information they released after the spill occurred.



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