SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston City Engineer and Sanitation Board Manager Steve DeBarr told City Council members Thursday night that he had discussed the question of water safety with several agencies and believed it to be safe for consumption.
"Having said that, at my house, we are going to drink bottled water for a while," DeBarr said. "Not that I don't believe them, but we are going to make a personal choice to drink bottled water."
It is normal to see sediment from hot water tanks and water lines after completing the flushing process, he said.
"Smell is not an indicator of the amount of chemical present in the water," DeBarr said. "It's not proportional. It depends on your sensitivity, and, with time, the smell will go away. The smell is not going to hurt you."
The South Charleston Community Center, which acted as the distribution staging area for bottled water during the first day of the water ban, had been shut down but has since reopened.
"The pool and Jacuzzi have been drained and refilled," said Arnett Hostonm, the center's director. "We are getting the chemicals adjusted and heating it up. It should reopen on Saturday or Sunday."
While West Virginia American Water has agreed to issue each customer affected by the water ban a 1,000-gallon credit on their bills next month, Mayor Frank Mullens said that the city's sanitary board has never been out of commission and has continued to "treat everything that has gone through it."
"State law doesn't give us a choice to give credits," Mullens said. "If the Public Service Commission gives us the option, we may be able to."
According to DeBarr, the PSC is meeting this week to discuss the situation.
"It would be good if they would take the lead and tell us what to do," DeBarr said. "It should be a uniform decision in all municipalities."
Mullens extended appreciation to the many city employees, businesses and volunteers who helped with clean water distribution during the crisis.