The water supply of Paden City, W.Va., is contaminated with tetrachloroethylene, known as PCE. It is a chemical typically used as part of the dry cleaning process. The city first announced the problem to residents in March 2019, when levels of the chemical were at 5.5 parts per billion. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum contaminant limit is 5 parts per billion.
According to WTOV9, PCE contamination reached 13.5 parts per billion in early February. Residents of the 2,400-population city have also formed a Facebook page to raise awareness and petition the government to take action. Clean water activist Hannah Spencer started a GoFundMe to raise money for drinking water.
“Everybody is exposed to this chemical in this town because it vaporizes at room temperature,” Spencer told WTOV9. “If you take a shower, you’re still exposed to this chemical.”
The local government is working with state and federal agencies toward a solution to this crisis, according to local news reports. — By Finn Halloran