Charleston Reports New Illness, Boil Water Advisory; Huntington Chemical Readings Explained

While orders in Kanawha and Putnam Counties are slowly being lifted, at least one broadcast media has reported a second wave of illness AFTER the safety declaration. In addition, sections of South Charleston which previously had been cleared to "flush" their systems are under a boil water advisory. That advisory was issued just after midnight Jan. 15.

Also, late Tuesday night  Jan. 14, Rep. Nick Rahall and Rep. Shelly Moore Capito asked that Congressional hearings be held regarding the spill. The U.S. Attorneys office earlier entered the investigation into the spill.

In addition, Huntington and Ashland readings have been released, including chemical detection before treatment and after treatment in Huntington. HNN asked for an explanation after two Kentucky systems and the Cincinnati water works shut off intakes until the chemical spill passed. Readings after treatment were 30 times below the CDC standard, according to Laura Jordan external affairs manager of West Virginia American Water. In a published interview, she said that shutting down the Huntington 24/7 intake would have impacted water in other sections of Cabell County.


First, WCHS has reported new illnesses at Thomas Memorial Hospital after the area was cleared to use water. One patient returned a second time having been previously treated, Dr. Elizabeth Brown told WCHS, "We're progressing to see more frank rashes and red eyes, people that are really having some GI discomfort, and it's a little more serious right now," she said. "So I'm certainly encouraging patients with these symptoms to have a good panel of blood work, so we can rule out other things, or so we can go back and later document the chemical, maybe cause some problems with the kidneys or something else, and we need to know that."

Some Charleston physicians caution if your water looks at all strange, or smells off when it comes out of the tap, it might be best to be cautious and not use the water right now. WCHS illustrated a misty looking glass should NOT be consumed.


Second, Kentucky’s EPA stated they temporarily closed pipes in Ashland/Greenup after the Corps of Engineers found readings of 0.023 parts per million at about 5:30 a.m. Monday Jan. 13, according to a Louisville Courtier Journal report.  (The 0.023 figure is untreated water to which carbon was applied.)

Since Huntington did not shut down intakes and instead received a clearance Monday, Jan. 13,  from the state and county health departments and the Corps. Of Engineers, HNN asked Laura Jordan, external affairs manager of WV American Water, for the readings and rationale. The readings for Huntington have been supplied by WV American Water referring to tests by West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, West Virginia American Water and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Jordan explained on Jan. 14 that “Huntington results early Jan 13 indicated 0.031 parts per million at the intake and 0.006 in the finished water. Monday night’s (Jan. 13) samples were “detecting only 0.004 ppm in the finished water.”

On Tuesday evening, Jan. 14 Jordan stated in a release the “maximum level detected at the intake (in Huntington) was 0.036 parts per million (Jan. 13) and 0.009 ppm in the finished water.” The peak reading was at 8 a.m. Monday, according to Jordan.

In the Tuesday evening release WV American Water stated, "although the lingering smell remains, it does not indicate a health issue. Data shows that the chemical plume has migrated past the Huntington Water Treatment Plant."

That advice was issued prior to the new cases at Thomas Memorial and the boil water advisory for South Charleston.

In an interview in the Herald Dispatch, Jordan stated that no consideration was given to shut down the Huntington intakes since the readings were 30 times below the CDC standard. She told the Herald Dispatch that shutting down Huntington's 24/7 plant would have impacted other Cabell County customers. She did not question the decisions of other systems downriver.


1,000 customers in the Rockcrest Drive and Chestnut Street Areas of South Charleston are affected by the boil water advisory according to a company news release.

The  area includes Rockcrest Drive, Princess Drive, Village Drive, Ridgewood Road, Lincoln Drive from Pike Street to Upton Avenue, Upton Avenue, Bridgeview Drive, Cobb Street, Hollyberry Lane, Greenland Circle, Ivywood Lane, Peachtree Lane, Wilson Avenue, Pike Street, Ridge Drive, Dominion Way, Knob Way, Shady Way, East Village Drive, Chestnut Street from Spring Hill Avenue to Hudson Valley Road, Hickory Street, Garnas Lane, Little Creek Park, Christa Circle, Ronald Drive, Fairview Acres, Airport Road, Oak Tree Lane, Myrtle Tree and Pleasant Valley Road.

The advisory from WVAW follows a main break and extensive system flushing activities, which caused a water storage tank to drain.


Louisville officials have not yet determined whether they will shut off intake when the now sixty mile long plume passes, according to various reports.


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