CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- More than 840 people have signed an online petition to get Kanawha County Schools to supply bottled water for students through the end of the school year.
But state officials can't say how long they'll be able to continue supplying packaged water to students.
The petition, created on the website MoveOn.org in response to last month's chemical leak, asks the state's largest school district to supply water for everything but toilet flushing until school ends in late May.
Schools across nine counties that were impacted by the Freedom Industries chemical leak into the Elk River Jan. 9 have since been supplying bottled water to students while also advising school cooks to prepare meals with the clean water. Sinks and water fountains have been off-limits as well.
"An end date for bottled water has not been established," West Virginia Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said Monday. "Ultimately that service is being provided in collaboration with the National Guard. ... There's an expectation they'll continue to provide it, but a final date is not determined."
Members of the National Guard delivered packaged water to all schools affected by the leak and also have taken water samples to test school faucets for Crude MCHM, the coal-cleaning chemical that leaked.
All tests conducted at the schools currently show "non-detect" levels of MCHM, meaning the chemical is under 10 parts per billion -- the state standard being used to clear schools, which is 1,000 times stricter than the standard set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cordeiro said it's important for people to know that just because schools are still supplying students with bottled water doesn't mean that the tap water is unsafe.