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Advocacy group forms; asks public for help in investigation into WV chemical spill

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CHARLESTON, WV -

A group that formed in the wake of the Jan. 9 chemical spill of MCHM into the Elk River has filed a petition to intervene in the Public Service Commission’s general investigation into the spill.

Advocates for a Safe Water System is an all-new, all-volunteer community organization to help ensure residents have access to clean, safe and healthy water in the Kanawha Valley.

“We are very pleased that the Commission has started this investigation and will be taking a serious look at how West Virginia American Water handled their response to this crisis,” Jim Hatfield, a steering committee member with ASWS, said in a news release. “We will continue to advocate for the goal of achieving a safer, more robust water system.”

The Public Service Commission opened the investigation into the water company on May 21.

According to the order, the Commission is requiring the water company to provide, among other things, a “chronological description of the pertinent actions taken by WVAWC personnel beginning when any employee of WVAWC, its parent company, or service of alternatives for water treatment or alternative or supplemental sources of treated or finished water that were considered by WVAWC after it became aware of the MCHM spill.”

The advocates also started an online survey for the public, in order to help them with the general investigation and accomplishing their goal of ensuring West Virginians have access to clean, safe drinking water.

“We want to ensure that public officials take into account ongoing concerns that citizens have about West Virginia American Water,” Hatfield said. “To that end, Advocates for a Safe Water System is conducting an online survey to find out more information about what residents impacts by the Elk River spill want from their water system.”