Three weeks after a 10,000-gallon chemical spill contaminated drinking water for West Virginia residents, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has asked the local water utility to continue supplying people with water from outside sources.
While the formal advisory against drinking tap water has been lifted, many residents still find the water undrinkable, and the supply of bottled water can barely keep up with demand.
In a statement to The Huffington Post, Tomblin, a Democrat, said he has asked West Virginia American Water Co. to continue delivering safe drinking water to those who want it.
"Immediately following West Virginia American Water's DO NOT USE order on January 9, I began working with the West Virginia National Guard and Office of Emergency Services to provide water and supplies to impacted citizens," Tomblin said. "While the DO NOT USE order has been lifted, we continue to receive calls from constituents and organizations requesting water be made available to their communities. To address this need, I have asked West Virginia American Water Company to make available potable and bottled water to West Virginians in the affected areas."
Last week, Tomblin told West Virginians it was up to them to decide whether they wanted to use their tap water, saying, "I'm not going to say absolutely, 100 percent that everything is safe. But what I can say is if you do not feel comfortable, don't use it."
Many have opted to continue using bottled water, and donated supplies don't last long.
"We could bring 100 to 200 gallons of water to an area, and it could be gone in an hour. People are coming and getting it that quickly," Dustin White, a volunteer for the West Virginia Clean Water Hub, told The Huffington Post. "There are still a lot of people who are afraid to drink the water."