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