West Virginia 7th Senatorial District Senator from Boone County, Ron Stollings says he shares the concerns of everyone concerning water safety after a chemical spill in the Elk River contaminated West Virginia American Water customers’ water in Boone and eight other counties.
“I share everyone’s ongoing concern about our water safety,” Stolling said. “I continue to shower in the water but for the most part have used bottled water for drinking. I have spoken with Adj. General Hoyer and members of the US Chemical Safety Board.”
Although the “Don Not Use” water order was lifted in Boone County over a week ago, several people are still concerned about the safety of the water.
“There will be ongoing testing of the water in our area for the next week or until zero detection. I am a co sponsor of SB 373, which deals with chemical safety and location of above ground tanks,” Stollings said. “We have incorporated the Gov bill into ours. We are trying to make sure this doesn’t happen again and our environment and water is clean and safe. I also have been in contact with the Bureau of Public Health and the WVU School of Public Health urging them to monitor the more long-term issues of this chemical contamination of our water supply.”
Stollings added that this water crisis has been a huge wake up call for the entire nation, according to the chemical safety board.
“Hoyer tells me the results show zero or near zero,” Stollings said. “The chemical safety bd people say and I agree that the problem is no one knows fully about the chemicals released. No question we are concerned about the proximity of contaminants near water sources and the further away the better!! Problem is that is not the case. Inventory review going on. Other towns and states have similar sources. Getting these areas inspected ASAP for old dilapidated containers obviously is important.”
Meanwhile, On January 13, 2014, United Way of Central West Virginia established the WV Emergency Fund to assist affected residents who suffered from lost wages and reduction in work hours as a result of the recent water crisis and due to no fault of their own. To date, the Fund has grown to over $70,000 and has received donations from local individuals, foundations and corporations and financial support from across the country. John Ballengee, executive director of United Way, stated, “we have been amazed at the support from local neighbors and companies along with support from all over the United States. Thanks to social media, we have received support from Washington, Florida, Iowa, Virginia, Connecticut, Texas, Pennsylvania, and beyond. We are comforted to know that our theme “neighbors helping neighbors” extends to Americans helping West Virginians.”
Distribution of funds to those eligible for support is scheduled to begin January 27, 2014.
United Way is proud to work with a number of community organizations who have volunteered to serve as intake sites for distribution of the Fund.
Affected workers can visit the United Way web site at www.unitedwaycwv.org to find the locations, hours of operation of approved community based providers, and eligibility requirements. Approved community based providers include The Salvation Army, Mountain Mission, and Catholic Charities in Charleston; Heart and Hand in South Charleston; Tyler Mt./Cross Lanes Community Services in Cross Lanes; EnAct offices in Clendenin, Chesapeake, and Hurricane; PRIDE Community Services in Logan; Boone County Community Organization in Madison; and, Community Resources, Inc. in Ripley.
Once eligibility requirements are met, affected workers can qualify for up to $200 in assistance depending on work hours lost and hourly wage. Applicants will be required to provide a paystub issued in the last thirty (30) days, a valid government issued identification card, current utility bill(s) and the emergency fund application form. Verification of lost work and hourly wage will be required from the worker’s employer. Assistance will be provided on a first come first served basis and affected workers can apply at any approved provider. Individual awards will be sent directly to a utility company of the applicants choosing. The deadline for application funding is anticipated to be February 21, 2014 depending on availability of funds.
Donations will continue to be accepted for the Emergency Fund. Donations can be made via cash, check, or credit card by contacting United Way of Central West Virginia using the information below. Donations can also be made ON-LINE at www.unitedwaycwv.org by clicking the West Virginia Emergency Fund “donate here” box. We ask you to join us in emphasizing the importance of “neighbors helping neighbors” by assisting those who have been affected by this water emergency.