Saturday, February 22, 2014


the taps are running again ... just for cleaning; not for drinking.
so we turned on the water heater friday and have begun washing our hands in the stuff coming out of it.

and while i'm favoring local restaurants that say they're using bottled water to prepare their foods, i also this week began eating franchise joint foods that probably contained produce washed in tap water as well.

who knows what kind of water
they're rinsing lettuce in?
the deal i'm making with myself is that if used as a rinsing agent and not consumed wholesale, a few parts per billion in a few drops on my skin or in my stomach can't pose as much risk as daily glasses of it.

truth be told, since i began re-opening our taps, i haven't smelled as intense an odor as i did in those first days and weeks.

but maybe i've been flushing with it so long that my nose is just used to it. held up for a deep sniff, a cupped handful of warm water still had detectable traces of that telltale smell.

of course, that was likely in the first tankful after kris' initial flush this morning. maybe it really is getting better.

a few of my friends and colleagues had either not stopped or have just began bathing and drinking it again. trying to see their point of view, i posited that at the level of a few parts per billion, you're likely able to find all kinds of disagreeable things in your water.

still, knowing that it's an organic chemical called 4-methylcyclohexane methanol and that its effects are unstudied, is enough reason to give me pause.

i'll clean with it because the bottled water alternative grew impractical and inconvenient and, yeah, what's flowing out of our taps isn't as malodorous as it was last month.

but drink it? heat it up and cook with it? what happens to that stuff when it reaches 100 degrees celsius? and then to ingest it after it's been incorporated into my pasta and my rice and my coffee and tea? do i really want to risk it?
i'm of the mind that my decision may never come down to a question of risk so much as a desire to make an issue of its mere presence at any level.

i may yet wear down and accept an "acceptable" amount of contamination and drink it and bathe in it.

but the thought that i can settle for less than optimal simply for the sake of convenience and tiring of the fight and being unable to sustain my outrage means i'm willing to let criminal negligence off the hook.

it is unsettling and discouraging to believe that i can allow wrong to wait me out as it shifts assets from one pocket to another and smirks knowing i'll eventually let its deeds go unpunished and accepted by all of us who have been affected by its actions.

my wife has become resigned to it. wondering at the porousness of our children's plastic cups and dishware to the yet unknown properties of 4-mchm, she just gave up.

"we take what we're given," she shrugged.

and so it is as west virginia always is in the face of all-powerful industry -- ceding the fight believing its outcome is preordained.

same old, same old here in the mountain state.

1 comment:

Gi-Gi Roxx said...

Three or four days after the initial ban lift, we began our flushing and such. But we were still not using the water for much more than flushing the toilets and rinsing out the sink after we washed in bottled water warmed on the stove.

We have been doing laundry and dishes and bathing in the water, but still aren't consuming it in any other form. We brush our teeth and prepare food with bottled water, as well as drinking it. We have eaten out, some of those establishments say they use bottled water in their preps, but who really knows. I think we won't be using our tap for consumption for quite a long time. But will it ever really be safe? Was it safe before this? Probably not.