State homeland security director Jimmy Gianato was at Goshorn Street on Monday, and confirmed that FEMA had declared the emergency over last week.
According to Gianato, the declaration came to an end several days after the water was declared safe in all of the affected zones, despite contradicting reports on the safety of the agency's 1-part-per-million threshold.
State officials have said they relied on the federal Centers for Disease Control for that limit. The CDC later issued an advisory for pregnant women not to drink the water -- an advisory that still hasn't been lifted -- and CDC officials said last week that they should have been clearer in saying the 1-part-per-million mark was not a "bright line" to mark what is safe and unsafe.
Late Monday afternoon, West Virginia American Water released a statement in which company President Jeff McIntyre said the levels of MCHM were "non-detectable" in about 85 percent of the local service area. In the places where the chemical can still be detected, McIntyre said, levels are "still extremely low and only a fraction of the CDC-established 1 ppm health-protective limit.
"Our team expects that it will take a few more days of persistent flushing and testing before all sample points used throughout the system reflect non-detectable levels," McIntyre said.
The water distribution at Goshorn Street was supposed to begin at noon Monday, but was delayed. Sigman stood on the sidewalk beside the county courthouse and waved cars past. "The truck with the water isn't here yet," he shouted to drivers.
The trucks were delayed for about an hour. Sayre said the delay was the result of lost time in loading and unloading the trucks. Each car that passed through the distribution center was given three cases of boxed water, and a line had formed around the block within 10 minutes of the water's delivery.
Also on Monday, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin urged federal officials to change the state's emergency declaration, which would provide funding for local and state entities that responded to the recent water shortage. It would benefit state and local governments, first responders and nonprofits that offered water and other resources after a Jan. 9 chemical spill tainted the water supply for 300,000 people.
Tomblin wrote to federal disaster officials that it cost state and local responders more than $2 million for their work. The state also is paying 25 percent of already approved federal assistance.
The governor also is requesting low-interest federal loans for businesses that lost money during the water-use ban.
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.