CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A group of area residents concerned about water quality and a potential rate increase gathered outside West Virginia American Water’s treatment plant in Charleston on Sunday.
Advocates for a Safe Water System, a group formed in the aftermath of the 2014 water crisis that affected thousands of Kanawha Valley residents, hosted an afternoon rally that featured sing-alongs, sign-making and speeches, all in hope of calling attention to what the organization argues are issues created by the water company.
Members of the organization said the water company has not made necessary improvements to the water system to ensure residents’ safety.
“This past week alone, people and businesses in downtown Charleston were told to flush their lines because of a power outage at a pumping station,” said Karan Ireland, a member of the steering committee for Advocates for a Safe Water System. “Kids were sent home from school because of a main break and we remain as vulnerable to contaminated water as we were on Jan. 9, 2014.”
With about 60 people attending the rally, several expressed opposition to the proposed rate increase the water company is seeking.
“We don’t think we should have to pay for West Virginia American Water’s mistakes,” said Katey Lauer, a volunteer with the advocacy group.