CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Morgantown-based consulting group has found the main ingredient in Crude MCHM in 40 percent of a small sampling of homes it has tested, lawmakers were told Friday.
Downstream Strategies sent legislative leaders a summary of the results of their testing of private home water supplies.
In a letter, Evan Hansen and Marc Glass of the firm said they found 4-MCHM in four of 10 samples taken from home cold-water taps between Jan. 18 and 27.
The concentrations ranged from 0.011 parts per million to 0.13 parts per million, with a detection limit of about 0.01 parts per million, according to their letter to Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, and House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison.
The other six samples did not detect any 4-MCHM. Downstream Strategies said their laboratory reporting limits for the non-detects ranged from 10 parts per billion to 110 parts per billion, with most at or about 10 parts per billion. The reporting limit is the concentration at which there is a high degree of confidence the reported number is accurate.
Downstream Strategies said that when testing homes its staff "purged" the system by running the cold water tap several minutes until the temperature stabilized, so they were sure they were testing fresh water from West Virginia American Water.
"Because we used this protocol, we have limited potential from intentional or unintentional storage within private plumbing system components (including, for example, hot water tanks)," the firm said in its letter to lawmakers. "Our results report water quality as delivered to homes from the WVAW distribution system. Additional samples would need to be collected to measure water quality from hot water tanks or other private plumbing system components."
Jennifer Weidhaas, an environmental engineer at West Virginia University, also said this week all 18 samples she's taken from home water taps came back below the 1-part-per-million level the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said is acceptable to use.
Weidhaas declined to say what levels her testing found, though she said at two houses her team saw increases in chemical levels immediately after flushing of the home plumbing systems.