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Charleston protesters cite water quality, rate hike

Charleston Daily Mail photo by Bob Wojcieszak Karan Ireland, top right, of Advocates for a Safe Water System, speaks to a protest rally Sunday afternoon organized by her group. Beside her are Paul Dalzell of the ASWS Steering Committee and ASWS volunteer Katey Lauer. The protest was organized in response to the 28 percent rate increase that W.Va. American Water requested of the Public Utilities Commission. Protesters said that they were not going to pay for the mistakes and incompetence of the water company in dealing with the January 2014 chemical spill that contaminated the water system.
Charleston Daily Mail photo by Bob Wojcieszak
Karan Ireland, top right, of Advocates for a Safe Water System, speaks to a protest rally Sunday afternoon organized by her group. Beside her are Paul Dalzell of the ASWS Steering Committee and ASWS volunteer Katey Lauer. The protest was organized in response to the 28 percent rate increase that W.Va. American Water requested of the Public Utilities Commission. Protesters said that they were not going to pay for the mistakes and incompetence of the water company in dealing with the January 2014 chemical spill that contaminated the water system.

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.

 West Virginia American Water is seeking a 28 percent increase for residential customers. The company has said the increase does not include any costs associated with last year’s water crisis…

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