Residents in Paden City, Wetzel County are no longer using the city’s water.
According to test results by the West Virginia Environmental Protection Agency, the water is contaminated with a chemical substance commonly used at dry cleaners.
The Paden City Water Department which services nearly 1300 customers is contaminated with the chemical, perchloroethylene (PCE) is a solvent used for degreasing.
“We had a dry cleaner facility in our town that discharged chemicals into our drains and it leaked into our drain system and into the ground and into our groundwater,” said Clyde Hochstrasser, Mayor, Paden City.
According to Hochstrasser, the water first tested positive for PCE in 2010. The city has been able to keep the situation at bay through air stripping machines which help oxidize the chemical.
The city has also maintained the water contamination by using additional wells. Paden City sources their water from four wells. Three of those wells are now contaminated.
The mayor also said the city is struggling to come up with the funds to continue fighting the contamination.
Thrasher Engineering, a company working closely with the city to resolve the problem told Mayor Hochstrasser the system the city would need to implement to solve the issue would cost around $240 thousand.
Hochstrasser said the city can’t afford this system on their own.
In pursuit of financial assistance, the mayor has been in contact with a number of government agencies “the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health, the U.S. EPA and the West Virginia EPA,” said Hochstrasser.
Hochstrasser said representatives from Thrasher are currently in Charleston speaking with officials about the Paden City water contamination.