Clean Water

The Five Loaves and Two Fishes Foodbank has 24 hydro-panels for water-gathering in Kimball, West Virginia.
Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In McDowell County, access to clean water can be a challenge. Aging infrastructure, a shrinking tax base and lack of oversight affect the region’s water quality. That is why one community food bank is trying something different, to provide cleaner water to some who are in need.

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Communities across the Ohio Valley are among an estimated 2 million Americans that do not have consistent access to clean drinking water and basic indoor plumbing, according to a report published Monday by two nonprofits, DigDeep and the US Water Alliance.

 

Water
Jasonanaggie / Wikimedia Commons

Ohio will begin testing some public and private water systems for the presence of toxic nonstick, fluorinated chemicals, broadly called PFAS.


Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

Janet Clayton is standing thigh-deep in a back channel of the Elk River. Clad in a wetsuit and knee pads, the silver-haired biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources reaches into a bright orange mesh bag submerged in water.

Inside are a half dozen mussels she plucked from the rocky river bottom.

Elk River
Malepheasant / wikimedia Commons

Monday marks the third anniversary of the Elk River chemical spill that left more than 300,000 West Virginians without usable drinking water for more than a week.  The leak  originated at Freedom Industries just outside of Charleston.

Clean drinking water is expected to flow in early 2016 to several hundred additional families in McDowell County.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports contractors are working on a $12 million project that could serve 500 families and more than 350 existing customers.