Jan 12, 2015

West Virginia American Water Reflects on Year Following Freedom Industries Spill

Company continues efforts on source water protection planning, alternate water sources, early warning monitoring systems and emergency customer notification

Kanawha Valley, West Virginia, Freedom Industries Chemical Spill, Water, Storage

One year after the Freedom Industries chemical spill that impacted the regional water system in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia, West Virginia American Water officials released a statement saying that water systems across the state are better protected due to the heightened community awareness to protect drinking water sources and the environmental protections added by the West Virginia Legislature’s passage of the Aboveground Storage Tank Act.

“West Virginia American Water customers can have further confidence in their water system as a result of the enhancements the company has undertaken to make the water system more resilient,” the company said in the statement, “including the most technologically advanced laboratory of any water treatment plant in the state and the addition of source water monitoring equipment in early 2015.”

“The health and safety of our customers and employees has always been and will continue to be our No. 1 priority,” said Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water. “Although we did not cause this issue, we have committed substantial resources to address customers’ concerns and enhance their confidence in the water supply.”

McIntyre said that following the spill, his team, along with interagency partners, worked around the clock to return the community’s drinking water to its longstanding high quality and conducted rigorous testing to ensure that no traces of the chemical existed in the water system and to reestablish confidence in the water supply.

“Once we achieved full restoration of our water to its original exceptional quality, we began taking careful, thorough and deliberate steps to evaluate measures to further enhance the resiliency of our systems, including in the areas of source water protection planning, alternate water sources, early warning monitoring systems and enhancements to our emergency customer notification system,” McIntyre said.

The company recently provided an update on these projects through an informational piece mailed to all area customers in late December, which is also available online at www.westvirginiaamwater.com/about-us/news.html.

Photo: Foo Conner/Wikimedia Commons