Total Pageviews

Monday, January 13, 2014

Some West Virginia Residents Can Finally Use Water Again

After officials in West Virginia announced on Monday that a ban on tap water was being lifted, many residents were excited to take a shower again.

But the ban was being lifted slowly, zone by zone, starting with hospitals. Most of the 300,000 people who were affected by the chemical spill last Thursday were still waiting to find out when the ban would be lifted in their neighborhood.

On Monday at 9 p.m., West Virginia American Water announced that a fourth zone of customers in North Charleston could begin to flush their systems. A map on the company’s website showed the exact areas where the ban had been lifted, with the blue region cleared to use water and the red regions still under the water ban.

The water ban had been lifted for about 26,000 customers on Monday, officials said. The system needed time to settle so operators could measure how it was reacting so far. Additional zones will receive permission to use water on Tuesday.

After five days without water, the first priority for many was a shower.

For days, residents have been relying on water distribution centers in Charleston, the state capital, and nine surrounding counties. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has delivered hundreds of thousands of gallons of potable water to centers set up by local fire departments like this one, where water was still being passed out on Monday:

The water company has given residents detailed instructions on how to flush their plumbing before they can start to use water again. Still, some were afraid to drink the water.

Others said that the water still had the smell of licorice, from the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or MCHM, that seeped into a local river.

And some residents reported that the water had a green tint.

Many were optimistic that the ban would be lifted in their neighborhoods on Tuesday.