PADEN CITY, W.Va. (WTRF) – A situation Paden City residents know all too well has been a decades-long phenomenon and is gaining widespread attention after residents have been put on a “Do Not Use/Do Not Consume Order” for nearly a month.
Frustrations are growing within the residential community and voices like former resident Tonya Shuler and current resident Patty Wright were heard for the first time.
“I lived in Paden City for 27 years. I built a house here and lived here and raised three boys here and the reason I moved was because of this water crisis and how it’s being handled.”Tonya Shuler – Former Paden City Resident & City Council Member
“The guys that are in here, they see things one way as council people and the people of the town are seeing things differently. You heard so many different points of view that were beautiful, well-said, and people offering solutions to the problems, not just complaining. And we have to kind of come together as a community to realize we can’t always depend on everybody else to do our work for us. We’re going to have to do it.”Patty Wright – Paden City Resident
After a storm occurred in mid-June, it caused a transformer to blow out at the water plant where the city had to then close the system.
Reopening the malfunctioning valve also introduced tetra-chloroethylene into the city’s water source.
Since then, the city has been working under the guidance of the DHHR and EPA to follow the plan they put in place of providing bottled water to citizens, flushing and testing to remove these contaminants.
“We, along with the EPA, who are also drawing samples alongside of us – we’re sending them out to state certified labs PACE in Florida and Alloway in Ohio. And we have gotten results back that showing that those levels are now non detectable again in their water.”Steve Kastigar – Mayor, Paden City
The state requests three consecutive clean tests, and Paden City has seen non-detectable levels of PCE on August 23rd, August 26th, and September 1st, but the work is not nearly over for officials and residents who are not happy with the way the situation has been handled.
“We’re working on it. We started working on the day we found out about it. We flushed somewhere between 750,000 to 900,000 gallons of water through our water system. So, we’ve been on it since the start. Some things seem slow because, you know, you’re dealing with high government bureaucracy. We’re dealing with the state and with the federal government, the EPA and communication sometimes is lacking. So, you know, it it’s frustrating at times.”Steve Kastigar – Mayor, Paden City
They are hopeful that within the next week things will be looking upward, but for now residents are encouraged to run their faucets and flush their systems.
“The chemical vaporizes at room temperature. So, if that contaminated water is run they’re breathing it in. You can’t boil it. They’re telling you not to take showers. They’re saying don’t consume, then they’re telling them to run it for 40 minutes. That’s the stuff I’m talking about. They’re bragging about flushing 900,000 gallons of water on the streets of town. They just contaminated it everywhere it ran. That contaminated water is now what they’re going to do. So, are soil tests going to be done to make sure that it didn’t contaminate all these neighborhoods they ran those in?Tonya Shuler – Former Paden City Resident & City Council Member
It is now up to the state to come up with a plan, and residents will be notified as soon as possible.
In the words of the mayor, Paden City is “well on its way out.”
“We’re under do not use order, but I’m sure you know this the Ohio Valley. And so, you know, Industry is way of life and people will find a way to persevere.”Steve Kastigar – Mayor, Paden City
“We have to realize we are in this town, in this community together. Somebody’s sister, somebody’s brother, somebody’s dad, somebody’s son. And if we yell and scream, we’re not going to accomplish anything.”Patty Wright – Paden City Resident
The city is continuing to work on ways to bring residents updates and say they have a website in the works.
This is a developing story, so stay with 7News for updates.