The senator said Monday that he stayed in Washington last week so he could "coordinate" with the EPA on West Virginia's chemical spill and "do-not-use" water order. He said he and his staff also worked closely with officials at the White House, FEMA, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and National Guard.
"The governor was here," Manchin said. "He was on top of that. He was doing a good job."
Manchin said he believes water processed by West Virginia American Water's Charleston treatment plant is now safe to drink.
"I drank the water. I'm using the water," he said Monday afternoon. "If you don't feel comfortable [drinking the water], then don't. I feel comfortable."
Manchin said the company responsible for the chemical spill, Freedom Industries, would be held accountable. He said Freedom's recent bankruptcy filing and "corporate shell games" wouldn't shield the company from penalties.
"There's no protection from something like this," Manchin said.
The senator said public officials have taken a "cautious approach" to ensure the water is safe to drink.
"With that being said, we will get back to normal life," Manchin said. "We will."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.