West Virginia Girl, All Bottled Up

“We are not going to change our life because of the Water Company”…

This post is a little different than my usual, but then again, my life is a little different than usual.Image

As I walked into one of my favorite coffee shops in town today, I cautiously asked, “Are you still using bottled water?”  The cashier politely responded, “No, sorry, we are not” So I longingly looked at the perfect slice of tiramisu behind the glass and replied, “Ok, that changes things then, I will just have a bottle of water”.  I then took my water, reserved my usual seat, and jaunted to the restroom.  As I left the restroom, I imeadiately realized that I needed to dig out my own personal stash of hand sanitizer before unscrewing the cap of my bottled water and pulling out my laptop to work.

As I settled in, I began to reflect on the past 2 weeks:

From the announcement that Freedom Industries had a chemical spill, to my church providing my husband and I with bottled water, to the national media seeming to ONLY report on Chris Christie while my home state was in a panic, to my ‘zone’ being cleared for the ‘big flush’, to the steam from my dish washer burning my nose, to my husband and basement being covered in contaminated water after a valve broke on our hot water tank during the ‘flush’, to only having 3 showers in 13 days, to seeing the flashing warning on national television for pregnant women to, once more, discontinue use of tap water, to the pile of dirty dishes in my sink, to the loads and loads of laundry that need done, to yesterday’s conversation with my OB, reminding me to stay away from the water at all costs until more information is released, I realized that this is A LOT BIGGER than my 34 week pregnant self having to turn down a tiramisu craving.

I no longer feel safe bathing, drinking, eating, cleaning, I am even leery of the hospital visit I know WILL occur in the next 6 weeks, and I am even more concerned about how I will wash my little one’s clothes, or give him/her a bath, or the dangers that could occur if I make one mistake while breastfeeding.  I am worried for the health of my unborn baby, and I am worried that my life will never be the same.

As these thoughts flashed through my head at 100 miles per hour, I overheard the sweet cashier remind her boss that people were continuing to ask about the coffee shop’s water source.  At first her boss explained their machinery to her. He described the filtration system and hot temperatures that the water was raised to before dispensing, but then he followed by saying this: “We are not going to change our life because of the Water Company”…

Well, I would agree that this situation is much larger than West Virginia American Water, and believe it or not, it is even larger than Freedom Industries, although their name does imply that they would be much more concerned about my inability to consume water on their behalf.

I realize that there have been many, many oversights on local and national levels, and that I am nowhere near educated enough to point fingers at exactly who is responsible.  But here is what I DO know:

I am 34 weeks pregnant, and as I approach delivery I am closer and closer to NEEDING a safe water source every day, and despite my favorite coffee shops’ “life not changing” I am scared in knowing that my life and ‘freedoms’ HAVE changed dramatically in the past 13 days, I am terrified that I do not see an end in sight, and I am even more terrified that local businesses, politicians, and the  government as a whole seem far more concerned about getting back to ‘business as usual’, than they do for the health and safety of my community.

I am not sure exactly where to go from here, or what action this extremely pregnant and distraught girl can take to truly make a difference, but I would like to let everyone reading this know that life HAS CHANGED for me, and it may never be the same.

Please, get out there, share this news, and do what YOU can to help protect our country’s PRIORITIES and WATER SOURCES.

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110 thoughts on “West Virginia Girl, All Bottled Up

  1. Reblogged this on Culture Jaunt and commented:
    Water is such an essential part of our everyday lives, and especially when we want to cook anything. We need it to wash our vegetables, to boil water for spaghetti, to drink before (or during) meals, to wash our dishes, and much more.
    However, 300,000 residents of West Virginia no longer have the luxury of using tap water any way they please because of a chemical spill that has contaminated their water source. This is not a confined issue, and we should all be worried about the immediate and long-term effects this will have.

  2. You are very right. It is such a scary thought that the most fundamental things to human life are being taken for granted because we, our species, are becoming more technological. This somehow makes everyone feel that we will have a solution soon for situations like this.

  3. Pingback: Dear Friends (of WATER), | Mrs.
  4. As a Huntington-dweller, I don’t feel completely safe, either, so I completely understand your concern. I hope the authorities are able to give some peace of mind soon as a soon-to-be-mom.

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  6. I was born and raised in WV. Today I talked with family and realized, as much as I can, how big this is. Now in NC I am away from danger but am I? Scary stuff! We will certainly remember you in our prayers.
    A Servant

  7. I think it’s disgusting that this was not publicized more by the media. You shouldn’t have to live in fear like this. It seems the media gave this company a pass at the expense of ordinary citizens. Shame on them. I hope the company takes responsibility and clean this mess up and also try to prevent this from happening again. Also, I would add that elected officials should start serving their constituents more adequately by putting public safety first.

  8. Wow, I feel awful not knowing this was going on. I’m so sorry for what you all are going through right now. I cannot believe they let this happen (yet somehow I can…) please don’t EVER stop fighting, don’t let them win. This is ridculous. Please do anything you can to ensure you and your families safety. To everyone there, stay strong.

  9. Pingback: West Virginia Chemical Spill…Really? « Ordinary Life
  10. Pingback: West Virginia Girl, All Bottled Up « foxmu2000
  11. As a neighbor from VA who lives about 20 min from WVA, I am so sorry for your situation. I am actually shocked and appalled that I have not seen or heard about this on national or local news yet— is it just me? This news/issue is definitely not getting the coverage that it needs!
    Praying for your family and state and please stay safe!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m in CA and unfortunately haven’t heard too much about this horrible issue. I’m so sorry that you (and everyone else there) have to go through this!

  13. I feel very sad for all the people who had to suffer without water for a whole week. Luckily for me I am in NC, where water is alright. I’m really grateful I didn’t have to go through this… I can’t imagine life without water…

  14. Wow, I hadn’t even heard of this! Is there a way you could add a link to a place where people can get more information? Have you reached out to any of the environmental organizations?

  15. I vaguely heard about this, and now that I have heard from someone who is experiencing this first hand, I do believe this is being overlooked by the media. I had no idea how serious this was. I wish best of luck, though it does seem that it wil not end soon.

  16. Reblogged this on John Looks Out On Life and commented:
    Water water everywhere, but nary a drop fit to drink. And those who are responsible for this latest crime against humanity – who are they? Where are they? The only thing you can be sure of is that those who have permitted this to happen do not live anywhere near the mess they have made.

    Yet again, those with the means, those who hold the power and the responsibility that comes with it have been shielded from the consequences of their actions.

    Be well and may your God shield you from what has happened

  17. I’m so sorry for all you are going through. I’m in the Eastern Panhandle of the state, and we’ve been following your terrible situation in the news. I hope things are resolved soon. I wish you a safe a happy birth with your nearly-here little one.

  18. Nursing your baby is one of the safest things you can do for him or her in the first few weeks (and longer)- and don’t listen to the horror stories of other moms – the biggest way to be successful is to make up your mind that it is what you want. Keep drinking your bottled water and the baby will pick up your immunities to a variety of things and be much better for it. I don’t mean to pick such a small thing out of your blog – I am angry for you – but it is the one thing I see that has hope in it. Not only will you pass along your health, you will pass along your love and identity – your fighter’s spirit. And the baby will be better for that too.

  19. We are praying for everyone affected by this latest environmental crisis. This is another reminder that our water is not an endless resource and we must protect it. We at Restoration Filtration are dedicated to helping individuals, families and communities improve their health and have some defense against the environmental toxins in water by providing the only best-in-class water filtration with a lifetime guarantee and free financing. If anyone would like help with this we are ready to assist. Call us: 615-3PURIFY (615-378-7439) or visit our website: http://www.RestorationFiltration.com, or our blog here at WordPress: http://restorationfiltration.wordpress.com/. Any day, any of us could be in the exact same situation as our neighbors in West Virginia. We all have to stand together to protect our water sources and to not let toxic industry run over citizens and pressure our local officials. Together, we DO have the power to make a positive impact! Write, call, or email your officials to protect your local water resources and make infrastructure repair a priority. If we don’t lose heart and let ourselves get distracted we can achieve change.

  20. I really feel for all of you that have had your lives turned upside down by this. It seems there’s been more and more corruption uncovered lately, and not uncovered in a good way. Uncovered because something happened that has negatively impacted a lot of people and the higher ups really don’t seem to care. Their families aren’t worrying about contaminated water, radioactive fish, and shots that cause autism (just a couple of the stories I’ve read lately). There’s such a divide in this country that I’m starting to feel like we the little guys are fish in a bowl for the big companies and government to experiment on. To the person that posted about their dad working on a solution, I really hope he can help!

  21. I couldn’t agree more and thank you for putting this into words. I, too, live in WV but luckily JUST outside of the chemical spill boundaries in Cabell county, and I, too, am pregnant, 20 weeks. Even though we’ve been told our water was “safe” from the beginning, I’ve still opted to only ingest bottled water, knowing damn well I’m not going to put my health and safety in the hands of a company trying to cover their ass and a government who couldn’t care less. When the do-not-drink order was first lifted, I was worried, because in truth, no tests have been done on the spilled chemical and its effect on humans, so for the company, government, CDC (or whoever is to blame) to assume any amount of this chemical (or most chemicals for that matter) is “safe” is absolutely sickening and wrong on so many levels. Then, of course, three days later, news breaks that the water actually isn’t safe for pregnant women to drink… THREE DAYS LATER. On top of that, when asked ‘if it’s not safe for pregnant women, what about children?’, the response was that results were not yet confirmed from the CDC on that matter. However, the ban on water still remained lifted. In what world or person’s mind is it okay for children to continue to consume water that is still awaiting safety results?! Or any human – elderly, child, adult, man, woman – for that matter. I cannot express my amount of disgust and the amount of grief I feel for anyone, but especially pregnant women and children, who began drinking water they were told was safe. The worry, stress and health concerns a water company has caused people and families is absolutely unacceptable and could’ve been completely avoided had they been straightforward and honest about how serious the chemical problem actually is and how unsure they are of the safety levels. It seems with peoples’ lives at stake ‘better safe than sorry’ would be the obvious route–unfortunately that’s not been the case here. Instead, a company would rather cover their ass, people continue to ensure us that a highly toxic chemical is safe to consume and the government has, for the most part, moved on.

    • Thank you for your support.

      Please sign and share!

      “We were told to flush our water pipes for a total of 20 minutes. The US Agency for Toxic Substances says this is not safe and we should have flushed longer. The state and county officials say its safe to drink, yet they themselves will not. Our children are being sent back to school with unsafe water – they are using bottled water. We demand the truth!”

  22. I will be keeping you and all West Virginians in my prayers! Lately amongst my peers, we have been discussing interventionist action internationally when human rights are violated. However, I can’t help but think that access to clean water and health is a basic human right being denied on American soil. It’s such a shame that you must live under these conditions while we debate over distant and indirect issues!

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