Update: Marietta, Williamstown show C8 levels in recent testing

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WOOD COUNTY, W.Va (WTAP): Update: 3/11/2017 12:30 P.M.

EPA-ordered testing in Williamstown and Marietta has resulted in levels well below the .07 parts per billion standard set in 2016.

"We had one production well that showed traces of it, and after the treatment process," Marietta Water Administrator Jeff Kephart said Friday, "it was well below the new standards of .07 parts per billion."

"We had all five of our wells tested," Williamstown Mayor Jean Ford told a recent meeting of the Wood County Board of Education. "All five of them came in well below the levels of C8."

Kephart says most of Marietta's water production wells showed no traces of C8 at all.

Several activists, however, have proposed lowering the allowable levels of the chemical-the levels considered safe for public use-to near zero, as some states reportedly have required.

Update: 2/7/2017 5:30 P.M.

One month after an order by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expanded the area required to be tested for C8, testing of public water supplies not tested before is well under way.

The order requires experts to test both public and private water sources.

But according to EPA officials, locating some private water sources also required to be tested can be difficult, because they're not limited to just private water wells.

"Even the (residential water users) that are not connected don't always rely on their own private water wells," said Roger Reinhart, of EPA District 3 in Philadelphia, PA. "Some have cisterns or a containment-type device where they actually haul water from a public water supply or some other source."

Among the areas where testing is in progress, is the Putnam Community Water Association in Devola, just north of Marietta.

Reinhart says it could be several weeks before they know the results of those tests.

Updated: 1/9/2017 7:30 P.M.

Chemours is now part of a level for safe drinking water issued last year by the U.S. E.P.A.

The Environment Protection Agency says Chemours is added to a consent order already applied to to DuPont, for the safe level of C8 in local drinking water supplies.

That level last May was changed to .07 parts per billion, in an action triggering a water crisis by the city of Vienna lasting until fall.

The E.P.A. says the action requires both DuPont and Chemours to conduct additional samplings of area drinking water supplies, and expanding geographic areas to be investigated.

If they produce levels above the new safety level, the companies are to provide alternate drinking water supplies.

C8 was used by DuPont for more than 50 years.

Chemours two years ago acquired the area of the Washington Works plant where it was used.

Updated: 4/12/2016 5:40 P.M.

Across the country, states and communities are lowering the threshold for C8 concentration in their drinking water.

West Virginia is not among them.

The state of Vermont earlier this year lowered to .02 parts per billion: the concentration of the chemical considered safe for drinking water.

The cities of Parkersburg and Vienna, however, say they will continue to observe the U.S. EPA guideline of .4 parts per billion.

"We have not had all the testing and the scientific studies done that I'm sure the EPA requires," said Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp. "We would never be able to do that, so we have to trust them that the numbers they are giving us are benchmarks that have been tested."

The West Virginia Bureau of Public Health, which oversees drinking water safety in the Mountain State, says it is waiting to see if the federal EPA takes any action before changing its standard.

Groups including Keep Your Promises DuPont have called for the reduction of the C8 standard to .05 parts per billion or lower.


New information about C8 levels suggest Vienna's water levels may be more concerning than they seem.

During last week's Vienna City Council meeting, Mayor Randy Rapp told the community about some recent water samples, showing C8 levels slightly higher than the Environmental Protection Agency's guideline.

That guideline is .4 parts per billion.

Vienna C8 levels were .129 and .106 parts per billion.

But new research by Harvard University says the drinking water standard for C8 should be .001 parts per billion.

That's 400 times lower than the current federal advisory standard.

Mayor Rapp says while the research is unsettling, they're focusing on the current standards.

"We have to go with what standards we have right now," said Rapp. "We're keeping an eye on the future, and that's why we're going to do all the increased sampling and, you know, see where we are with our numbers. And that's all we can do right now."

Rapp says for now, they will be monitoring the C8 levels from their monthly samples, and will keep the public informed as new data comes along.

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