Water company releases update regarding water quality

January 11, 2014

Statement from W.Va. American Water Co. at a press conference in Charleston today:

Water Quality Update:

An interagency group consisting of the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, West Virginia American Water, Army National Guard Civil Services Team, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and other subject matter experts is working together to make decisions regarding water quality.

The U.S. Center for Disease Controls… (CDC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicate that drinking water is protective of public health at a MCHM (4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol) level at or below one part per million (1 ppm). These agencies do not anticipate any health effects below this level.

Four laboratories have been set up with the standards and methods to measure MCHM levels in a uniform manner.

The Kanawha Valley Water Treatment Plant must consistently produce water samples indicating results at or below this level before the current “do not use” order is lifted. At this time, there are an inadequate number of sampling results to report.

Even when water produced by the plant meets acceptable health levels, extensive testing must be conducted in the distribution system before the “do not use” order is lifted.

An interagency water sample collecting and testing procedure has been established and communicated to all agencies involved. The agencies involved met at 8 a.m. Saturday morning to discuss this procedure and reach consensus on a plan for systematic flushing based on hydraulic modeling of the Kanawha Valley water distribution system.

Concentric flushing beginning at a central location and moving out to the far ends of the distribution system is expected to take several days but will not be simultaneous based upon the construction of the system. The timeline may vary based on geographic location, customer demand and other factors that impact water usage and availability.

The Kanawha Valley water system is the largest and most complex water system in the state, with over 100 water storage tanks and more than 1,700 miles of pipeline.