Yahoo News is publishing first-person accounts from Charleston, W.V., residents who have been affected by the chemical spill that shut off water supplies for about 300,000 residents in nine counties.
FIRST PERSON | CHARLESTON, W.V. — For a second day, residents of nine counties in and around the capitol are without running water in their homes.
Local mom and pop businesses have been shut down as well as major chains — Burger King, McDonald’s, Cracker Barrel, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut — due to order of local health departments and authorities. Without water, no Mickey Ds.
Closer to home without running water, being unable to even use the water in the tap to wash dishes or clothes, or to bathe, becomes a major problem. I awoke this morning to the news that a CVS had water to sell. But by the time I arrived, 10 minutes later, it was gone, sold out. Store shelves have been wiped clean of water since news of the spill first broke. I went to a Dollar General store right after CVS to get paper supplies and to ask about water shipments there. I learned the Kroger Grocery store in the same plaza had a shipment coming in 15 minutes. I went to that location — which was standing room only — waiting for the shipment to come in. It took an hour to get away with two cases of bottled water. All told, I spent two and a half hours to retrieve any drinkable, usable water.
We learn fast in life that without your health, you have nothing. Guess what, without your water, you have nothing. There is very little we do that does not require water, and we learn this lesson fast when we have none. A normal life requires water. Despite a “news conference” set up by American Water Inc., we in the public are being told very little as no one, not even the President of American Water Inc., the mayor of Charleston, the governor of the state, county commissioners apparently know so little about this particular chemical agent that they basically know nothing and have no timeline as to when this emergency will be over and lifted.
It’s discouraging to learn yet again that those we believe know what they are doing really do not know what they are dealing with. This is definitely the case here as they have no way to test the effect of this particular chemical when diluted in water. This much ignorance they admit to. The fact the holding tank is as old at 1930 they have also admitted to. How many other old and out-of-date and crumbling structures like this exist not only in Chemical Valley, W.V., but across this nation is a looming question right alongside how safe are our bridges?
So far as to the attitude and demeanor of most West Virginians, I have only witnessed the best behavior and a calm acceptance that may well be bred in the population from generations of having to deal with coal mining industry horror stories and events of a terrible nature. The level of patience on the part of the population will, however, given human nature, wear thin as time goes on should the water remain untouchable and unusable.