Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., also decried the FEMA decision.
"I am appalled that FEMA feels that an emergency that leaves 300,000 people without access to clean water is not severe enough to warrant additional federal assistance," Capito said in an emailed statement. "I will continue to work with West Virginia's congressional delegation to urge FEMA to give West Virginians the full assistance they need and deserve."
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper also urged the state's congressional delegation to push for further assistance from FEMA. Carper said expenses for Kanawha County alone are expected to reach $500,000.
The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said the bottled water problem in the schools is limited to Ice Mountain brand water. The health department immediately halted distribution of the water on Wednesday.
The water was in use at Sharon Dawes Elementary, John Adams Middle and Andrew Jackson middle schools.
The ban on its use applies to one specific lot of Ice Mountain, although other lots of Ice Mountain water in storage have been taken out of circulation, as well.
A spokeswoman for Ice Mountain, which is owned by Nestle, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Neither did Watson, the FEMA spokesman.
County sanitarians investigated after receiving complaints about the water and confirmed the complaints.
"A strong odor or bad taste does not necessarily indicate the water is a health hazard," Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, said in the news release.
Gupta said the water had "a musty smell, like from a basement," and he said some people thought it smelled like carrots.
He said the water's expiration date was April 2014.
The bottled water was tested for bacteria and came back negative, state Department of Health and Human Resources spokeswoman Allison Adler said.
"The bottled water program has been in contact with the manufacturer regarding the taste and odor concerns and samples have been submitted to the company for further testing and investigation," Adler wrote in an email. "It is believed that the odor is related to where the water bottles were stored prior to being donated to West Virginia's schools."
The county said it has a sufficient supply of other kinds of bottled water in its warehouse.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com and 304-348-5119.