There was a hiccup with the water company's map Tuesday, as areas in Southridge and South Hills briefly showed up as OK for customers to flush their pipes around noon. That was rescinded a half-hour later, then made official around 4 p.m.
McIntyre blamed it on a miscommunication. "It shouldn't have happened, but it did," he said. "We apologize for it."
Those in the operations center were waiting for an additional sample to confirm that the zone could be flushed, McIntyre said. "All the water quality came back good ... we just didn't have that one verification," he said.
McIntyre said he now personally approves lifting the "do not use" advisory in specific areas.
Once people are given the OK to flush their pipes, the water company recommends running hot water through all faucets for 15 minutes, then cold water for five minutes, then further flushing of appliances and exterior faucets.
The water company said the state Department of Health and Human Resources provided them with details of the process. A DHHR spokeswoman said the water company's "flushing guidance" was reviewed by the State Health Officer, the Bureau for Public Health's Office of Environmental Health Services and by the affected local health departments. Both state and local health officials concurred with the guidelines developed by West Virginia American Water Co. to ensure water quality.
The eight affected counties -- Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, Jackson, Lincoln, Logan, Roane and Clay -- and the Culloden area of Cabell County remained under a state of emergency Tuesday evening.
State Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato said water is still being distributed in the affected areas. Water distribution stations in area where the water ban has been lifted are being diverted to areas that are still waiting, Gianato said.
About 200 restaurants throughout the area have been approved to reopen, according to health officials.
Officials, along with the water company, didn't have a plan to address the chemical spill, despite the filing of Tier 2 forms by Freedom Industries, the company that stored Crude MCHM alongside the river. Those forms are to be given to state and county emergency planning officials for use in developing response plans. No such plan existed in this case.
"[The Department of Environmental Protection is] already looking at sites and exactly what information we need that we don't have right now," Tomblin said Tuesday. "We want to make sure that this kind of accident doesn't happen again. We are doing everything in our power to make sure those kinds of protocols are in place to prevent this kind of event in the future."
Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.mole...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.