While the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department told The Gazette last week Crude MCHM will break down in soil after 30 days, health officials still haven't verified this information.
Neither the health department nor the state's Bureau for Public Health has issued any information regarding the effect the chemical might have on septic systems or groundwater, despite repeated requests from The Gazette.
Craig Mains, a technical assistant with the National Environmental Services Center in Morgantown, said the organization hadn't had many chemical leak-related calls regarding septic tank concerns. The NESC assists rural communities with drinking water and wastewater issues, among others.
Mains described homeowner questions as "legitimate" since much isn't known about Crude MCHM.
Mains could only speak generally on how chemicals might act in a septic system.
"Septic systems are biological systems, so toxic substances can affect them," Mains said. "But depending on the toxicity of the substance, they can be kind of resilient, as well, as long as the substance isn't too toxic."
One homeowner who asked not to be named said she feared flushing her elderly mother's home, because of what it might do to the septic system.
"We're just using bottled water, which kind of cramps you when you're taking care of a 96-year-old woman," she said.
For Parrish, her concerns still lie with the contaminated water that was contained in the large tank atop the ridge adjacent from her family's property.
"What's it going to be like five years from now?" she wondered.
Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.mole...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.