CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- More than 51,000 West Virginia American Water customers were approved by Wednesday afternoon to use their tap water.
The "do not use" order was lifted in Sissonville early Wednesday and for the Grandview area of Putnam County a few hours later. No other zones were approved for water use by early evening, although water company spokeswoman Laura Jordan said she hoped more zones would be blue throughout the evening.
Another smaller area that included Brynwood-Elk River, Beacon Ridge, Brook Hill, Credemont, Crestwood, Milliken, Mile Fork Coopers Creek, Jarrell Addition, Jenkins Hollow, Airport, Air National Guard and Eagle View was cleared after 11 p.m.It's been the goal every minute in these recovery efforts to get customers back into usable water again -- and water that's confirmed to be safe for public health and poses no risk," Jordan said.
About half of the company's customers were still without access to potable water seven days after a chemical spill that contaminated the Elk River upstream from the Kanawha Valley's water intake.
A state of emergency is still in effect for Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Roane and Clay counties, as well as the Culloden area of Cabell County.
West Virginia American Water customers who wish to know their home's zone status can enter their address into an interactive map, which is available at wvgazette.com. If customers still have questions about their zone, they can call a temporary hot line, at 855-390-4569.
Customers whose homes are located on red islands -- or, donut holes -- surrounded by blue zones on the water company's map are in a different pressure zone, Jordan said.
The water company takes into consideration water sample results, the direction that water flows through underground pipelines and the availability of water for flushing, Jordan said.
"Where you see that border around that red island, it means the hill . . . has a different [water] tank," Jordan said.