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News - Kanawha Valley Customers - Water Alert

For West Virginia American Water Kanawha Valley Customers

IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO CUSTOMERS

4/14/2014 at 4:30 PM
West Virginia American Water Update on Carbon Filter Change-Out and Water Testing

Water samples taken from the first two filters completed in the carbon change-out project at the Kanawha Valley water treatment plant showed no detection of MCHM. Sixteen water samples from various stages in the water treatment process over a 5-hour period, including eight samples of water that had passed through the new filter material, were sent to Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, Inc. for analysis. Prior to sampling, the filters were conditioned, monitored and tested to meet all drinking water standards.

MCHM test results have been shared with the West Virginia National Guard, the West Virginia Bureau for Public and the WVTAP team. The filters are being put back into service, and testing will be conducted on filtered water following each subsequent filter change-out. Testing is performed down to a 0.38 parts per billion reporting level, which is the lowest existing detection level to date.

West Virginia American Water began changing out nearly 500 tons of Granular Activated Carbon in the plant’s 16 filters on April 1. The project is expected to take 8-9 weeks, subject to operational conditions. The Kanawha Valley plant continues to produce water that meets all drinking water standards and CDC guidance.

3/27/2014 at 10:50 PM
West Virginia American Water Update: Elk River foam testing complete

Testing results from foam samples taken earlier today in the Elk River are complete and indicate no changes to source water quality and no characteristics outside of typical water quality parameters. Samples taken from four different locations along the river were analyzed by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry for Total Organic Carbon and Volatile Organic Compounds.

In previous statements, the company explained the manner in which foam can naturally occur in waterways when organic substances like leaves decay in water, which can form congregations of air bubbles that appear as foam. Foam upstream of the water treatment plant intake appeared to dissipate by mid-afternoon and at no time was observed near the intake.

“After receiving notification of a foam on the Elk River this morning, and with the health and safety of our customers as our number one priority, we made the decision to shut down the plant’s raw water intake pumps for approximately two hours until more information could be gathered,” said president Jeff McIntyre. “System conditions today allowed for the plant to maintain adequate water storage during this brief time, which was a very different circumstance than on the day of the Freedom Industries spill. At that time, the decision to maintain water service to customers for firefighting and basic sanitation was the best decision for the communities we serve.”

Extremely low system storage on January 9 would have left customers without water within 15 minutes to two hours if the plant had been shut down, and would have taken more than a month to restore the entire system if it was depressurized. On that day, the plant was pumping at near capacity at about 42 million gallons per day due to system demand and water main breaks associated with the polar vortex. Today’s system conditions would have allowed an estimated 4-5 hour shut down without impacting service to customers.

The plant resumed normal operations after water quality staff consulted with the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, as well as confirmed that no foam or film was present on the river near the plant intake.

3/27/2014 at 6:15 PM
West Virginia American Water Update: Response to foam in the Elk River

Initial testing results from a foam sample taken earlier today from the Elk River indicate no changes to source water quality and no characteristics outside of typical water quality parameters. Additional analyses are underway with further results expected later this evening.  

Following notification by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) this morning, West Virginia American Water staff investigated the Elk River upstream of the Kanawha Valley water treatment plant intake. Water quality specialists found a white colored foam intermittently along the banks of the Elk River from Coonskin to Queen Shoals, as well as along Big Sandy Creek in the Clendenin area. Samples were taken at four different locations and are being tested for pH, turbidity, Total Organic Carbon and Volatile Organic Compounds.

Foam can form naturally when leaves and other organic substances begin decaying or breaking down in water, which releases compounds that lower surface tension. This allows air to more easily mix with water and cause bubbles, which may congregate as foam. Plant employees did not observe the foam at the intake at any point during the day, and the foam upstream appeared to dissipate by mid-afternoon.

Throughout the day, water quality staff observed no changes in water quality or operations at the Kanawha Valley Water Treatment Plant. Company officials remained in contact with WVDEP and the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health (WVBPH) regarding this situation.

Upon notification from WVDEP about the reported foam, West Virginia American Water shut down the plant’s raw water intake pumps for approximately two hours until more information could be gathered. The plant continued to pump treated water out of its clearwell, as system conditions allowed for the plant to maintain adequate system storage during this time. The plant resumed normal operations after water quality staff consulted with the WVBPH, as well as confirmed that no foam or film was present on the river near the plant intake.

3/25/2014 at 1:30 PM
West Virginia American Water Treatment Plant Testing Completed

West Virginia American Water released new testing results today following sampling and testing that took place over the weekend. The results posted below confirm that MCHM levels in water leaving the Kanawha Valley water treatment plant are below 1 ppb. All new results are so low that they are considered estimates by the laboratory because they are too low to be quantified. Previous test results have consistently shown water leaving the plant to be below 2 ppb since this reporting level became available in mid-February.

“This new round of sampling and testing demonstrates the ability of laboratories to test and report at levels lower than previous rounds of testing.  The detected levels are 2,000 times lower than the CDC’s health-protective screening level,” said Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water. “It is not unexpected that MCHM effectively captured in the filter material may show up in trace amounts in water leaving the plant. As we committed to our customers, we will be changing out the nearly 500 tons of Granular Activated Carbon in our plant’s 16 filters as soon as operational conditions allow, which is scheduled to begin next week,” McIntyre stated.

On March 21 and 22, multiple samples were collected at various stages before, during and after the water treatment process, including raw water (Elk River), settled water (post-clarifiers), filtered water (post-filters) and finished water (completed all stages of treatment). Seven sets of samples were taken two hours apart at six different points, for a total of 42 samples. Water samples were delivered Saturday to Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, Inc., which is one of two laboratories utilized in the WV TAP project.

The additional sampling was conducted following one home sample result of the WV TAP project indicating a level of MCHM between 0.5 ppb and 1 ppb. One part per billion is the equivalent of one drop in a large tanker truck or one second in 32 years. A press release issued this morning by WV TAP states that levels were less than both the interagency team’s non-detect level of 10 ppb and the CDC health-protective screening level of 1,000 ppb (1 ppm).

Since the Jan. 9 Freedom Industries spill, laboratories have developed methods to quantify MCHM in water at lower and lower levels. Maximum Detection Levels identified by Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories for these samples range from 0.38 ppb to 0.45 ppb, depending on the sample.

SAMPLE LOCATIONS - All results reported in parts per billion (ppb)

  RawEast SettledWest SettledEast FilteredjWest FilteredjFinishedj
3/21/20146:00 PMNDNDND0.600.440.52
3/21/20148:00 PMNDNDND0.550.530.49
3/21/201410:00 PMNDNDND0.600.430.53
3/22/201412:00 AMNDNDND0.560.410.46
3/22/20142:00 AMNDNDND0.57ND0.46
3/22/20144:00 AMNDNDND0.42NDND
3/22/20146:00 AMNDNDNDNDND0.45

Maximum Detection Level ranges from 0.38 ppb to 0.45 ppb, depending on the sample in this report.

ND is anything below the Maximum Detection Level (0.38 ppb to 0.45 ppb depending on the sample).

j  The "J" qualifier is an industry identifier for reported values that fall between the Minimum Detection Limit (MDL) and the Limit of Quantitation (LOQ).  This indicates that the analyte is present but the actual concentration level should be considered an estimate.

 

3/21/2014 at 9:15 PM
Water Test Results from Ona

ONA TESTING RESULTS: 3/19/2014  

SITELOCATIONMCHM Results - ppb (ND<2ppb)    
SR1Interconnect, Rt 60, Huntington Side3
SR2Little Fudges/Big Fudges IntersectionND
SR3Blue Sulpher RdND
SR4Howells Mill Rd (Arthur Cemetery)ND
SR5McComas BranchND
   

ONA TESTING RESULTS: 3/20/2014  

SITELOCATIONMCHM Results - ppb (ND<2ppb)    
SR1Interconnect, Rt 60, Huntington SideND
SR6Interconnect, Rt 60, Charleston SideND

 

3/19/2014 at 4:10 PM
West Virginia American Water Conducting Water Testing and Flushing in Ona

West Virginia American Water will conduct sampling and testing for the chemical MCHM in the water distribution system serving the Ona area. The action is being taken due to a licorice odor being reported that is similar to odors in the Charleston area following the spill of MCHM into the Elk River by Freedom Industries. Results from the testing will be posted online at westvirginiaamwater.com.

“Early Monday morning, a landslip caused two water main breaks along Water Street in Barboursville that drained the Barboursville water storage tank” said Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water. “Following normal response procedures crews opened a 16-inch interconnection between the Huntington and Kanawha Valley systems near Culloden to continue to provide water to approximately 1,500 customers in the Ona area while the Barboursville tank was recovering.”

Over the past two months during the company’s response to the Freedom Industries spill, the hydrant closest to the valve that opens and closes this interconnection in the Ona area was flushed and tested for MCHM. Additional flushing occurred multiple times along this main transmission line in the area near the interconnection.

Since yesterday afternoon, the company has received several dozen complaints in the Ona area related to water odor, which is not uncommon when the flow is reversed in a main line. Some callers have noted a licorice odor.

“Recent expert reports note that the odor threshold for this chemical is very low at 0.15 ppb,” stated McIntyre. “However, we recognize that the presence of the odor is not acceptable to our customers and we are taking the action to test the water in order to provide our customers with assurance that water in the distribution system is below the CDC protective level as well as help remove the odor completely.”

Now that both main breaks have been repaired, the interconnection between the two systems has been closed. Operations have returned to usual in the area. West Virginia American Water will continue to address customer calls related to the water main break and the any odor issues, and is continuing to flush the area as needed.

3/3/2014 at 4:50 PM
Centers for Disease Control Update

The following was an update posted by the Centers for Disease Control on their website today: "CDC has stated previously that there is no evidence to indicate that MCHM levels below the laboratory limit of detection of 10 ppb would result in any adverse health effects for any segment of the population ... including pregnant women. The recently released laboratory results which have tested water samples at an even lower limit of detection (of 2 ppb) continue to confirm that the water system is at non-detect levels. These findings are consistent with our earlier recommendations and conclusions: Based on the water sampling data indicating that MCHM has been cleared from the system, CDC believes that the water is safe for consumption for all users ... including pregnant women."

3/3/2014 at 3:30 PM
West Virginia American Water Update: All results below lower testing level of 2 parts per billion throughout distribution system

West Virginia American Water today announced that the results of testing for MCHM from the Freedom Industries spill at all testing points in all zones throughout the company’s Kanawha Valley water distribution system are at the lowernon-detectable level of below two parts per billion (ppb). This level is 500 times below the protectivestandard established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which is 1 part per million (ppm).

According to the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, the CDC believes there is no evidence to suggest that levels below 10ppb would have adverse health effects, including for pregnant women. On February 20, West Virginia American Water announced that all points of testing throughout the water distribution system showed that levels of MCHM from the Freedom Industries spill were below 10ppb level but that the company would continue flushing to address odor issues.

“Since February 14th, we have worked with laboratories to test down to 2ppb or less of MCHM, and as of February 25th, levels of the chemicalare below this non-detect threshold throughout the water distribution system,” said West Virginia American Water President Jeff McIntyre. “More than 30 employees from American Water subsidiaries in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Illinois have worked tirelessly with our West Virginia employees to flush approximately 2,000 small dead end water mains in the system. Now that we no longer have detectable levels of MCHM throughoutour distribution system and have assisted Queen Shoals PSD to also achieve this in their system, we have concluded our systematic flushing operations in the Kanawha Valley.”

West Virginia American Water will continue to respond to customer reports of lingering odor. This is being done solely to address reports about odor and is not related to any health concerns. The water in the distribution system has been below the CDC-established protective standard of 1ppm since January 18.
West Virginia American Water intended to continue distributing bulk water through Wednesday, March 5; however, due to weather forecasts for the rest of the week, the company is officially ending its bulk water distribution efforts.

To compensate customers for flushing their home water systems, West Virginia American Water customers may have or will shortly see credits on their bill. These credits are marked in a line entitled “Flushing Credit” and will be reflected on bills received from mid-February to mid-March, depending on when bills were generated.

“West Virginia American Water is proud to have provided clean, safe water to West Virginians for nearly 130 years, and throughout this event our primary focus has always been the safety of our customers,” McIntyre said “We take pride in our exemplary record of providingclean, safe water to approximately 300,000 people in the Kanawha Valley and 550,000 throughout West Virginia, now and into the future.”

 

2/20/2014 at 6:15 PM
West Virginia American Water Update: All Samples Throughout Distribution System Below 10 Parts Per Billion: Flushing and Testing Continues to Help Address Odor

West Virginia American Water today announced that all points of testing throughout the water distribution system shows that levels of MCHM from the Freedom Industries spill are below 10 parts per billion (ppb). Ten ppb was established by the interagency team as the “non-detect” level of MCHM in the water distribution system and was based on the measurement capabilities of multiple laboratories used during the event. This level is 100 times below the standard established by the CDC at 1 part per million (ppm).

“While this information is important to communicate to our customers, we have continued sampling water in our distribution system, and since February 14, have been working with laboratories to measure levels down to 2ppb as we help address the remaining odor issues,” said Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water. “We share our customer’s concern and anger over the impact the Freedom Industries spill has had on our community. We know that odor has added to their concern, regardless of levels, and we will continue to flush our distribution system to help address this issue.”

The company relayed that water tested at the treatment plant is below 2ppb as well as nearly all points tested to date, with only four samples showing above 2pbb.

“This additional data allows us to pinpoint our flushing activities and address odor issues in an expedited fashion,” added McIntyre. “These additional efforts are solely to address odor issues and are not related to any concern regarding health thresholds set by the CDC. Water testing results indicate that water in the distribution system has been under the health-protective threshold of 1ppm since January 18.”

In addition, West Virginia American Water customers may have or will shortly see credits on their bill. These credits are marked in a line entitled “Flushing Credit” and will be reflected on bills received from mid-February to mid-March depending on when meters were read.

2/11/14 at 3:00 p.m.
Huntington Water Treatment Plant Monitoring Coal Slurry Leak into Kanawha River

A coal slurry leak reported this morning in a tributary of the Kanawha River is not anticipated to have an impact on our Huntington water treatment plant, located on the Ohio River more than 100 river miles downstream of the leak site. We anticipate no impact to the Huntington water system due to river flow and dilution; however, we continue to work with state health officials and ORSANCO to monitor at points along the Ohio River. We have been in contact with the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, which concurs that they do not anticipate any impact to the Huntington plant on the Ohio River.

2/11/14 at 10:30 a.m.
West Virginia American Water Kanawha Valley Water Treatment Plant Not Affected By Coal Slurry Leak into Kanawha River 

A coal slurry leak reported this morning in a tributary of the Kanawha River is not anticipated to have an impact on our treatment plant on the Elk River, which is one mile above where the Elk River joins the Kanawha River. Our employees are working on behalf of our customers with local and state officials to gather additional information. We have been in contact with the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, which concurs that they do not anticipate any impact to our plant on the Elk River.

2/10/2014 at 10:30 AM
Testimony of Jeffrey L. McIntyre, President, West Virginia American Water, before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

2/10/2014 at 9:00 AM
Updated Press Release - "West Virginia American Water President Provides Testimony to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on West Virginia Chemical Spill Response"

2/9/2014 at 6:20 PM
Answers to Top Questions About Your Water ad in today's Charleston Sunday Gazette-Mail

2/7/2014 at 3:50 PM - Official Center for Disease Control Information
To read more about how the Center for Disease Control determined acceptable levels of MCHM and PPH in drinking water in response to the Jan. 9 Elk River chemical spill, click here.

2/4/2014 at 9:20 AM
Updated Press Release - "West Virginia American Water Expanding Credit for Small Business Customers"

1/30/2014 at 6 PM
Updated Press Release - "West Virginia American Water Responds to Governor Tomblin’s Request for Additional Bottled Water"

1/30/2014 at 9:00 AM
A note to our customers in today's Charleston Gazette and Charleston Daily Mail

1/29/2014 at 4:45 PM
Updated Press Release - "West Virginia American Water Responds to Media Reports Regarding Formaldehyde"

1/24/2014 at 11:30 AM
Link to WV Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Page

1/27/2014 at 5:15 PM
Updated Press Release - West Virginia American Water Issues Update on Water Sampling and Test Results

1/22/2014 at 4:00 PM
Updated Press Release - West Virginia American Water Issues Update on Water Sampling and Test Results


 

1/22/2014 at 3:00 PM
Updated Statement

PPH  Statement

Yesterday after learning that Freedom Industries identified an additional chemical, referred to as "PPH," that was part of the January 9, 2014 chemical spill, the interagency response team – including the W.Va. Bureau for Public Health, West Virginia American Water and National Guard – met to determine the best course of action for re-testing historical samples for this newly disclosed material. 

According to a statement to the W. Va. Bureau for Public Health yesterday evening, the CDC indicates that given the small amount of PPH in the tank and the initial review of currently available toxicologic information, the information does not suggest any new health concerns associated with the release of PPH. The interagency team has determined that the WVDHHR is best positioned to discuss additional health-related questions about this chemical. 

West Virginia American Water has multiple laboratories, including MATRIC (Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research & Innovation Center) in South Charleston, testing water samples and analyzing data, and we will share those results when available. The water samples being tested are samples collected both before and after the “Do Not Use” order was lifted. Customers do not need to flush or take any additional action at this time. The interagency team will communicate with our customers the water sample results we obtain from this new round of testing. 

 

1/19/2014 at 9:45 PM
Updated FAQ - Our Next Steps

1/19/2014 at 1:50 PM

Do Not Use Order Lifted/Map Removed

West Virginia American Water has removed the map because the Do Not Use order has been lifted for all customers served by the Kanawha Valley Treatment Plant. Please continue to visit this web page for updates.

Please note the CDC advises that, “At this time, scientists continue to recommend 1 ppm as a protective level to prevent adverse health effects. However, due to limited availability of data, and out of an abundance of caution, you may wish to consider an alternative drinking water source for pregnant women until the chemical is at non-detectable levels in the water distribution system.”

This experience has been extremely difficult for the people served by our Kanawha Valley Treatment Plant, but we are going to get through it by working together, and we thank our customers for their patience and understanding.

1/18/2014 at 2:30 PM
Updated Press Release - Do Not Drink/Limited Contact Notice Lifted for Buffalo, Frazier’s Bottom and Pliny Customers

1/17/2014 at 12:50 PM
Updated Press Release - “Do Not Use” Order Lifted for Last Remaining Customer Area in Clendenin



1/17/2014 at 6:50 AM
Updated Press Release - Do Not Drink/Limited Contact Notice for Buffalo, Frazier’s Bottom and Pliny Customers

1/16/14 at 8:00 PM
Updated FAQs

1/16/2014 at 12:30 PM
Water Quality FAQs - If have questions related to health concerns, the Poison Center has been designated to address these issues. You can contact them at 1.800.222.1222.

1/14/14 at 5:30 p.m.
Pressure Zones: The process of lifting the water ban

1/13/14 at 1:19 PM
How to flush your system material.


1/12/14 at 5:30 PM
Updated Water Distribution Centers