There has been talk of a statewide boil order, but most local utilities are telling the Wetzel Chronicle that there are no boil orders in effect here.
Specifically, New Martinsville, Paden City, and Hundred are saying they are not instructing people to boil their water before consumption, cooking, and other sanitary uses.
The press release that is causing the confusion is from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. It says, "Due to the statewide power outages, any area that had low water pressure, no water service, or cloudy water is being placed on a boil water advisory. The advisory will remain in effect until the water service issues a notice lifting the advisory."
Wetzel County Office of Emergency Management Agency Director Ed Sapp says all water utilities in the county are up and running. Some, such as Pine Grove, Reader, and Grandview-Doolin, may still be generating or distributing water thanks to generator power.
The Hundred-Littleton PSD never ran out of pressure, keeping the water flowing throughout the recent emergency situation. This was thanks to the PSD crew keeping the water tank stocked. Consequently they had a full supply to use when the power went out after Friday's storm. Without that reserve, they probably would have been without water on Sunday. The town shut down high water usage businesses such as the laundromat, car wash, and restaurants so as to conserve the water reserve. Those businesses reopened today. The PSD only needed to operate on generator power for three hours before electric service was restored.
Of course those rural customers without public water service rely on electric well pumps for water. Those who still are without power are also without water. Sapp said 5,000 gallons of water was distributed to the county's fire departments on Monday. Another shipment today provided two palates of water to each fire department and they should be receiving another load of water tonight or in the morning. He said the Reader Volunteer Fire Department had even been delivering water to some residents.
The heat has certainly been a factor, so cooling shelters have been opened. The most used one is the Lewis Wetzel Family Center in New Martinsville, but the Mollohan Center at the 4-H Camp and the Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Department are also available for that purpose. The Hundred VFD is also available as needed, but Sapp expects little use there as many homes in that area have power restored. The New Martinsville Parks & Recreation Department is even offering free swimming at Lewis Wetzel Park through Wednesday.
Sapp said most of the storm damage appears to be minor. "I don't know that we had more than one or two houses that were made uninhabitable from a tree falling on them," he noted. Most damage was to siding and roofs with the loss of shingles or tin sheeting.
"Once the response phase is over, then FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will kick in and begin the recovery," said Sapp, who noted the federal agency will set up centers for people to come in and fill out paperwork for assistance.
Further, he said the West Virginia Division of Highways is reporting that some back roads still have trees across them, but Sapp said there are probably very few impassable by now.