CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- At one time, Tyler Mountain Water Co. used filtered tap water among its sources for its bottled water and delivery business -- but not in recent years, according to the company
So when Freedom Industries spilled Crude MCHM into the Elk River on Jan. 9, employees at the company's Poca Distribution Center were affected like everyone else, but Tyler Mountain's water supply was not.
"We have not bottled in Poca for several years," said company president Richard Merrill.
While Tyler Mountain Water Co. used to use filtered water provided by West Virginia American Water Co. in their bottled water production, Merrill said all of Tyler Mountain Water's products are now bottled at plants in other states.
Tyler Mountain Water Co. began in 1930 with a single hand-drilled well on Tyler Mountain, on the outskirts of Charleston. Merrill's father bought the company in 1971, at a time when bottled water was not yet cool. Merrill, who took over running the company, soon found a market selling bottled water to the coal industry, which was required by federal law to provide miners with potable water.
By the early 1990s, Tyler Mountain Water had outgrown its original home. In 1992, the business moved to the Rock Branch Industrial Park near Poca.
Some of the company's water is supplied by a spring near Deep Creek, Maryland. But depending on how the water is packaged and where it's coming from and ending up, Tyler Mountain Water also has bottling plants in Pennsylvania and Ohio, Merrill said.
"We sell bottled water in every size from eight ounces to five gallons," he said. He said the Poca distribution center employs 46 people, but there is also a warehouse in Louisville, Kentucky.