When will it end?...It’s been over two months since MCHM (4-methylcyclohexanemethanol) and PPH (Propylene Glycol Phenyl Ether) leaked in to the Elk River in Charleston which seeped into West Virginia American Water’s intake plant, and WVAM customers are still complaining about a licorice odor in their water, with the latest complaints coming from Ona, West Virginia in Cabell County. Water samples were taken on March 19-20 and water test results at five locations in Ona showed non-detectable levels of MCHM. The samples came from an Interconnecting site along US Route 60 and according to the results posted on the water company's website, detection levels were at 3 parts per billion, while all the other locations that day had non-detectable levels, which is anything less than 2 ppb. The odor was a result in two water main breaks in Ona which lead county officials to pump in water from the Kanawha Valley.
But 10 miles down from Ona from in the town of Hurricane, 36,000 of wastewater containing MCHM was dumped into a Hurricane landfill earlier this month, which raised concerns of the toxic chemical leaching into nearby streams and underground aquifers beneath the landfill. But if you venture into any grocery store within the nine-county radius that was directly affected by the contamination, the shelves where bottled water is kept stay empty. People simply do not trust drinking the water, even though they are trying to ease back into using the water for cleaning purposes to gain some sense of normalcy.
Many residents are even turning to “rain catchment” to avoid any effects received from being in contact with the water distributed by WVAM. Many believe the MCHM and PPH will be in their water systems for months, if not years. In all, the way the largest water contamination is U.S. history was handled revolves around public trust for Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, his public health staff, WVAM and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. A vote towards changing hierarchy in West Virginia is needed and state residents need to realize that there other alternatives for the state to prosper besides depending in coal and the political corruptions surrounding it.