CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As he waited in line for water, for what might be the last time during this month's water crisis, Charleston resident David Stout said he's still not drinking or cooking with the tap water provided by West Virginia American Water.
"I realize it's a balancing act; I mean, I have a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old at home, and we're bathing in it, we're washing in it, but we're not cooking with it or drinking it," Stout said Monday on Goshorn Street, at what Kanawha County officials said would be the final distribution of water.
Stout believes state and county officials have done a lot to provide water to residents, but he wishes they were continuing to do so.
"Once our supply is exhausted, I don't know what we'll do. I haven't decided," he said.
Some area residents still don't trust the water after the Jan. 9 chemical spill from Freedom Industries into the Elk River, despite assurances from government agencies and the water company that the amount of the chemical Crude MCHM that remains in the water is safe.
Another Charleston resident, Fred Nezhad, who has a family of nine, was appreciative of the water passed out Monday -- but said he still wasn't comfortable using his tap and wished the state were able to extend water distribution for a while longer.
"This morning we got an emergency number telling us about this," Nezhad said. "We came by to get our three cases, but these are small bottles -- who knows how long they'll last. It would be a good idea to do it a little bit longer, I think."
Kanawha County Manager Jennifer Sayre said the county contacted the Governor's Office and was told there would be three trucks available for them Monday, but that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had declared an end to the incident period and would no longer provide water to the state.
"The county's position is that as long as we have water available, we're going to pass it out," said C.W. Sigman, deputy emergency services manager for Kanawha County. "The water we've been passing out for the last few weeks has come from FEMA through the state, and we distribute it to the agencies that want to help distribute it. Luckily, we've had a lot of agencies step up and say, 'send us water. We'll take care of it.'"
Sigman said the state "continued to give us additional water beyond that to ensure we got through all of the zones, and additional water for the schools, so we've exhausted all of the federal supplies that the state has purchased.
"The water from FEMA is not free; that's a misconception. The state has to pay 25 percent of the cost of all of that water. All of the water that we cost-shared with FEMA has been exhausted -- this is the last little bit that was left," Sigman said.
FEMA spokesman Peter Herrick Jr. said his office and the state have not had talks on continuing to supply water for the area, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office has not requested additional water to his knowledge.
Herrick added that he could not speculate on whether FEMA would be able to provide the region with more water if it were requested. "I cannot say how that conversation would go," he said.