West Virginia water contamination….are you ready?


There has been a developing crisis in West Virginia effecting over 300,000 people across nine counties. Currently the State of West Virginia has declared a state of emergency in these areas due to severe water contamination. Citizens can no longer use tap water to drink, bathe, wash, or cook with.

Grocery stores have had a run on all bottled water sources and shelves emptied out. Tanks of potable(drinkable) have been being brought in to assist. As you can imagine life has changed dramatically for these residents. Numerous businesses have had to shut down as well.


The cause of the contamination appears to be a chemical spill from a local industrial company. How long residents will have to discontinue use of their tap water is unknown. It is being reported that the levels of chemicals in the water have diminished but are not gone.

Think about this just a bit – no water. None. Zero. Gone. Many of these folks just found themselves in an emergency situation that they were not prepared for. If a “simple” chemical spill can cause this kind of problem imagine what a planned terrorist attack could do.

I know with this happening it has got me thinking of my water-preps a little more. I have placed too much emphasis on filtration and not enough on actual, physical water storage. Fix is in the works.

How about you? What if your water supply became contaminated and you were unable to even filter it?

Keep prepp’n folks!



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  1. We have considerable water stored, cases, 1 gallon jugs, 5 gallon cans and even a 55 gallon drum (which froze during the bitter temperatures the week before. I am content with our ammo and medical stores, too. My next 2 major efforts will be an alternate energy source and fencing or wire around the property.

  2. I certainly dont have as much water stored as these folks need, and I need to work on that, but I can go a couple of days…I have empty bottles for more, but that doesn’t help in this kind of situation…

  3. I have at least 3 60 gallon storage barrels, however, I feel that, that is not still not enough. I’ll be addressing that soon as well. This story kind of hits home as I live in eastern Kentucky.

  4. Being a city dweller for a few more months… we simply don’t have space to tank up more than the 109 gallons we have. We have two 90 gallon barrels stacked along with a short hose to fill them…. when.. the shtf. Small comfort if we should lose pressure or end up in a WV situation. Now Filter systems… them we got. I can filter a bloody lake of dirty water.. if I have it. Chemically contaminated like WV.. proly not. Now I’m thinking I should find another ‘filtering layer’ for just that problem.

  5. It just astounded me, how people reacted to this. I seemed that NOBODY had prepared for anything like this. (I shouldn’t be surprised) They were just astounded that this could happen.

    It gives you pause to think how they reacted to this, imagine if the water AND electric went down at the same time. You would have riots in the streets.

    Glad I live in the country and have my own well.


  6. You would have to know the agents you are filtering for to know if you are stopping or minimizing your risk of contamination or health consequences.

    We have three 55 gallon barrels of water plus a pump for each. If your water is frozen in the barrel, you won’t be able to get at it.

    I have seen where a neighbor cut out a place for a fish tank heater to go into his water supply in his garage. The power cord passes through a notch in the threaded plug on top, then he sealed that. In a TSHTF scenario, without power, he would have to move the water to a warmer location on winter.

    We have ours inside, with a top I made, which my wife “disguised” by covering with table cloths so they now have a flat surface we use without seeing that there are blue barrels in the house.

    Back to the topic, I heard on the news coverage that even the filtering done at the municipal water plants does not remove the chemical. They are hoping to have nature “fix” the problem by diluting the concentration to safe levels. This sounds like how China would handle the problem. How long would you have to last on stored resources if it were a worse spill?

    I think we will see a few people start storing some water, and maybe some food, in the area affected. BUT, just like those in hurricane zones, most will go back to depending on someone else to take care of them and won’t prepare to take care of their selves.

  7. I live in the Charleston area and teach family preparedness seminars. It’s been a joy to hear from many in our preparedness network that they are able to help neighbors and local family members out of their individual water storage supplies. This kind of response is much more personal than handing out cases of water at a drive through (although that is needed). It has allowed us as Christians, to add some compassion into the crisis. This also illustrates for us the wisdom of having a network of like minded people. Not everyone was able to store the same amount of water, but they can depend upon those in their network for assistance.

  8. This situation is just a small segment of the population and the rest of the state and country can step in to help. My biggest concern after watching this unfold, is what happens during a total SHTF situation when many of the bodies of water may be contaminated with fuels and chemicals. We had always planned to make use of the small lakes and streams around our home as a ready source of water, but now looking around, I see storage tanks everywhere in our area. We have stored water and also both Sawyer and Katadyn water filters, but no longer feel that we have secured our future. Collecting rain water and distilling may be the only way to ensure water is safe to drink. I have started making plans to collect and store a lot more rain water than my present catchment system and also look into possibly building a small distiller. I hope this water ban ends soon for the good people of WV, but it sure is an eye opener for the rest of us. Take a good look around your area and see just how many different toxic chemical and fuel storage tanks there are.

  9. Sad situation indeed and just one more illustration as to how “dependant” on our infrastructure we have become. Funny thing is I had just finished a total
    re-organization of my food and water preps(you have to maximize storage in a small home) and decided I needed more water on hand w/filters when this occurred. Talk about driving the point home. Prayers for all our neighbors in the affected area.

  10. I am here in the middle of this mess in WV and it has been a wild ride! When the news first came out, people made a run on the stores and it got sort of ugly in some places. We had water for drinking and basic washing set aside at the house so that was good…I didn’t want to be out among the unprepared who, for some reason, got crazy fast in some areas. Still, not even being able to use the water for bathing was/is tough. we had always figured on being able to sanitize water somehow and we could have done more of that through boiling rain-water but traditional filters did not work for this chemical so all tap water was a no-go. Storing water for drinking is one thing but keeping clean is another deal. We had hand sanitizer and baby wipes on hand…lots of folks didn’t so those items got cleared out fast. Also paper plates, flatware etc was cleaned out fast too. Water supplies came in pretty quickly but those other items are still lacking. It looks like things are starting to come back on line here and honestly, the govt and water co responded fast and well which I didn’t expect. Anyhow, this was a good wake-up call for lots and re-affirmed lots of what we do. It also illustrated some areas for improvement which was good too.

  11. I hope this situation ends soon and on a good note for all those affected by this spill. I have two questions, first, how muck damage is going to come from the spill, both to animal and plat life and will it eventually end up in the ocean/ The second is after this chemical is used to clean the coal what happens to It?

  12. I run across these situations now and then and think… “wow my water storage is woefully inadequate”. I have a couple Katydyn filters and a Berkey and also a hand pump slaved to my well with a 55 gallon plastic drum. “That’s not enough”!!….then I look out the window at the 8′ tall tower with the 275 gallon rain filled tank on top. “Oh yeah….the first thing I built when I moved in”. Hope that has it covered. Water is the FIRST consideration.
    Regards, D.

  13. The contaminant BTW is 4-methylcyclohexene methanol. I’m not a chemist but I do remember from reading up on alcohol production that the active ingredient that blinded drinkers during the Prohibition was methanol; removed by multiple stage filtration through activated charcoal filters. Just thought I’d post this in case it might be of some help. Maybe one of your readers has a background in chemistry and could add to or verify this as a possible solution in this case.

  14. A part of prepping is to prepare for problem solving. The “BOB” bathtub water container that I have in the closet would be utterly useless in this situation. So, in order to supplement the drinking water that I have stored, I would string up a polyethelene tarp to funnel rain water into five gallon buckets. One of the biggest problems that the unprepared have made for themselves is never giving any thought to the disasters that can occur. A preparedness mindset is the first step to not falling victim during instability.

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