Charleston Mayor Danny Jones is exploring the city taking on testing of hotels and homes, to “prove to folks that the water is okay if, in fact, it is.”
Jones said he doesn’t know how many samples would be collected because he is awaiting a report from an Ohio-based company that would outline the cost of testing. He didn’t reveal the name of the company.
Jones also said he isn’t sure what would be done with the proposal but said it will be released publicly. The Charleston City Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Monday, March 3.
Although Governor Tomblin and state officials have launched an independent in-home testing campaign through Dr. Andrew Whelton and Corona Environmental Consulting, Jones said more focus needs to be had on Charleston.
“The governor has a big territory to cover and we’ve got Charleston to worry about. Our brand has been butchered worse than anybody’s. We can’t wait,” Jones said.
“We hope the governor won’t cease from coming in here and doing all of the testing that he wants but, we need to do some of our own testing.”
Jones said the purpose of the testing is to prove to residents and potential tourists that the water is safe and to restore confidence in the safety of the city.
On a recent personal trip to the west coast, Jones said he learned the outside perspective of Charleston–and West Virginia as a whole–“is not good.”
“They wonder if the water has been poisoned in West Virginia. They don’t differentiate between nine counties and 55 counties. It’s just one state and they’re not too mired down in the details. It’s not good for the state,” he said.