Fort Gay Water Works’ chief operator said Friday it was a customer complaint that prompted a “do not consume” order that lasted nearly 80 hours this week.
Larry Sagraves, the chief operator, said one of the system’s 1,685 customers complained of a diesel fuel odor from water, prompting the “do not consume” order to be issued Monday at 10:30 a.m.
The water works announced Thursday the order had been lifted effective 6 p.m. that evening.
“The samples have been analyzed. They’re all clean,” Sagraves said Friday morning, reporting the samples yielded no volatile organic compounds — chemicals that have a low water solubility.
Wayne County Office of Emergency Management Director B.J. Willis said Thursday morning it was unknown then whether the water supply was contaminated after a report of an odor and possible small oil sheen near the water intake.
The water works said the order was lifted after results came back from samples conducted Monday and collected by the state Department of Health and Human Resources.
The water works said the DHHR recommended all customers flush their water heaters. Water was only to be used for toilet flushing and fire protection during the order period.
Water had been distributed from Fort Gay City Hall to Fort Gay water customers only, according to Willis, with someone onsite to confirm those receiving water are system customers. Willis said his office was working with the state Emergency Management Division to ensure potable water was delivered.
The Emergency Management Division, West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, an association of independent organizations, and West Virginia American Water have been among the sources providing water, according to Willis.
There had been two water buffaloes on site for those who had their own water-safe containers to fill, Willis said.
Water samples were sent to a West Virginia American Water laboratory since there were water quality issues identified in the samples, according to the DHHR.
The DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health received sample results that did not conclusively indicate a source of contamination, so repeat samples were taken, DHHR spokeswoman Allison Adler said late Wednesday afternoon.
The U.S. Coast Guard performed an investigation and determined there is no ongoing risk of contamination, according to Adler, who added that no spills were reported.
The state Department of Environmental Protection said it inspected local gas stations to check for any leaks that may have been a source and that no leaks were detected.
The DEP and the DHHR did not see or smell petroleum evidence around the plant but felt it best to keep the “do not consume” order in place until tests could be completed, Willis said.