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WV American Water says continued testing shows 'non-detect' levels of MCHM

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West Virginia American Water released new testing results on June 17 explaining there continues to be no amounts of crude MCHM being detected in the distribution system, as of June 11.

Laura Jordan, spokeswoman for West Virginia American Water, said the company confirmed last week there was no detection of the chemical coming in or out of the treatment plant.

The water company tested 49 points across the 1,900 mile Kanawha Valley water distribution system at the lowest available laboratory detection level of .38 parts per billion.

WVAW also announced water samples tested over the weekend at the lowest existing laboratory detection level following the June 12 storm water overflow at Freedom Industries had no detection of MCHM. This confirms testing performed last week by two local laboratories. Testing was performed by Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, used after the initial Jan. 9 chemical spill occurred.

“To further demonstrate our commitment to our customers, we voluntarily undertook this effort to continue to rebuild customer confidence in the water system and confirm that our water is the truly excellent quality that our customers expect,” said Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water. “We listened to our customers’ concerns and we believe these recent test results demonstrate that there is no reason to believe MCHM is sticking to pipes or otherwise remaining in the distribution system.”

The company collected the water samples from June 5-11. However, the Freedom Industries site located upstream of the water intake had an overflow of a trench into the Elk River. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said the trench soil contained crude MCHM, but the water test results they and the water company took showed non-detect levels of the chemical.

The most recent results of the water samples were collected following the completion of a $1.1 million project to change out nearly one million pounds of granular activated carbon from the Kanawha Valley water treatment plant’s 16 filters. Two samples were taken in each of the 24 zones that the distribution system was divided into for purposes of lifting the January Do Not Use order, according to the water company. A final sample was taken at the point of interconnection between the Kanawha Valley system and Queen Shoals PSD. The representative locations were identified in conjunction with state drinking water regulators at the Bureau for Public Health.

“Restoring full water service and full confidence in our water was not just our job — it was our promise to our neighbors and our families in the communities we serve,” McIntyre said. “Our company has served the Mountain State since 1886, and we take our responsibility of providing quality water very, very seriously. We believe our efforts demonstrate this responsibility, and this final round of testing should further alleviate uncertainty about the quality of the water distribution system following the January 9 Freedom Industries spill.”