Drinking Water

DuPont's Washington Works
Parkersburg News & Sentinel

Jurors are deliberating in the federal case of an Ohio woman who says she got cancer after drinking water contaminated by a chemical from a DuPont plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia.

It's one of two test cases that could influence thousands of similar lawsuits about the chemical giant's discharging of C8 into the Ohio River and drinking water.

photo by Cecelia Mason

Appalachia is no stranger to industrial or environmental disasters that affect our water. Because of crumbling water infrastructure in many coalfield communities, folks often turn to bottled water for regular use.

But not all bottled water is equal. At least that’s according to judges at the 25th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting & Competition, which took place February 19-22. The competition judges the taste of bottled water, purified water, and municipal city waters from across the world were judged.

In this piece from The Atlantic, Anya Groner uses January's chemical spill of MCHM into the Elk River to set the stage to discuss the history and future of issues surrounding safe drinking water.

DuPont's Washington Works
Parkersburg News & Sentinel

Dozens of West Virginia residents have filed lawsuits against chemical company DuPont for contaminating drinking water.

DuPont's Washington Works
Parkersburg News & Sentinel

A West Virginia man has filed suit against chemical company DuPont for contaminating his home's drinking water.

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection

There’s a 72-mile stretch of the Kanawha River that runs from the small town of Diamond, near Belle in southern Kanawha County, all the way to Point Pleasant where it flows into the Ohio River. Since 1980, this section—known as Zone 1 by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection—has been exempt from being classified as Category A. That exemption prevents that section of the Kanawha River from being used as a source for drinking water. 

Nikthestoned / wikimedia Commons

Proposals to fund drinking water projects in four West Virginia counties have been rejected by federal regulators.

Freedom Industries

In a letter to Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, federal health officials say they thought their drinking water standard established after the Elk River chemical spill would have protected West Virginias from other forms of contact. 

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official says drinking the contaminated water was the primary exposure they were concerned with when forming their safety threshold. CDC director Thomas Frieden says consumption was associated with the most significant health effects.



Earlier this year, a chemical spill in West Virginia forced officials to put a ban on drinking water that affected some 300,000 people. This also highlighted an unsettling truth: While officials test our drinking supply, they're only targeting a few chemicals. Many contaminants go undetected.

Here's NPR's Elizabeth Shogren.

ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: Toxic chemicals can make it into tap water for years without experts knowing it. That's because of a basic fact about how treatment plants test their water.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia’s Congressional Delegation has penned a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urging health officials to conduct further studies on the effects of the January 9 Freedom Industries chemical spill.

Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, along with Representatives Nick Rahall, Shelley Moore Capito and David McKinley sent the letter Thursday.

The letter supports Gov. Tomblin’s request for additional studies and health monitoring of the more than 300,000 West Virginians impacted by the spill in the Kanawha Valley.

  The 24th Annual International Water Tasting took place Saturday in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., and a Canadian  town walked away with the trophy for Best 

  Municipal Tap Water.

Among the judges for this year's competition was West Virginia Public Broadcasting Executive Director Scott Finn, who documented the event including a popular activity after the winners are announced, the "water rush" where members of the audience get to grab as much free bottled water as they can carry.

The folks in a Wyoming County community were dealing with unpotable water months before the chemical spill in Charleston.

About 170 customers, around 500 people, have been on a boil water advisory since September.

Kanawha County
wikimedia / Wikimedia

Kanawha County and City of Charleston Bulk Water Sites for Saturday, February 15, 2014 through Monday, February 17, 2014: