By David Beard
The Dominion Post
CHARLESTON — Levels of MCHM in the West Virginia American Water system continue to drop; and a Thursday press release from two state departments said there are no detectable levels of PPH — the second chemical revealed this week to be in the Freedom Industries tank that spilled into the Elk River.
But many residents are still not reassured. Several have shared their stories with The Dominion Post, and here is another.
“As a new parent, even the simplest things don’t seem so simple,” he wrote in an email exchange. He works at the Capitol and has a 3-year-old daughter.
“Yeah, the water may be fine and the trace amounts of MCHM may be benign, but we don’t want to take the risks of endangering her development, physically or cognitively. No one knows long-term effects of this stuff, but we absolutely do not want to use our daughter as a lab rat.”
They’ve flushed their water twice, but it still has an odor — he described the smell as “cherry Twizzlers.” They even drive to Fairmont, to his mom’s house, to collect tap water in jugs for cooking.
“My wife and I agree that we will not drink or use the water for anything that involves ingestion. We’ve been pretty cavalier about taking showers and laundry, but we cringe when we have to bathe our daughter. I had bought a shower sprayer sort of thing right before this happened to help bathe our dog, but it’s the only way we will bathe our daughter other than heating pots on the stove to fill the bath tub, and since the county is no longer offering bulk fill water, then we have little choice than to shower her off very quickly with the shower sprayer.”
Osborne said he and his wife don’t worry about their own health. “There is still some concern over how it may affect our bodies on the inside should we eat or drink the tap water; therefore, we will continue to use bottled water for cooking and drinking. I don’t have any concern with bathing myself in it or doing the laundry, but our daughter is everything.”
Osborne said that, given the lingering smell, he distrusts government statements that MCHM is soluble in water. “It’s my belief that this stuff clings to the sides of metal plumbing like maple syrup in a bottle and when it’s left to sit in the pipes and tanks, it ‘leaches’ into the fresh water in the lines. … It’s going to take more than a $1,000 credit to safely flush our plumbing, and I imagine the plumbing of everyone else’s to fully solubilize all traces of this stuff from plumbing fixtures and appliances.”
Official health views
On Wednesday, West Virginia American Water announced that water sampling and testing results show non-detectable or extremely low levels of MCHM in water samples gathered systematically throughout the Kanawha Valley water distribution system…