Valley pitches in for chemical spill area

PARKERSBURG – As the chemical spill situation in the Kanawha Valley improves a little bit, local efforts in support of residents of that region continue.

Bo Wriston, director of the Wirt County Office of Emergency Services, said collection events were held Saturday and Sunday in Wirt County to help collect emergency supplies for people in the areas affected by the chemical spill.

No further activities are planned at this time, unless further need arises, he said Monday afternoon.

“It went extremely well,” Wriston said of the weekend supply drives.

Overall, he said, the drives collected more than 1,100 bottles and 39 gallon containers of water, along with 65 rolls of paper towels, 2,900 napkins, 2,300 drinking cups, 3,500 pieces of plastic cutlery, 6,000 paper plates, 300 bowls, 7,800 baby wipes, 400 diapers and more than 200 cans and items of non-perishable food.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross has been helping, too.

Todd Wines, disaster program manager in Parkersburg, said the local Red Cross has sent its two emergency response vehicles to Charleston. Wines said the local Red Cross office has referred calls to help to the Red Cross’s West Virginia Regional Office in Charleston.

In Charleston, the Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) Western Region is in need of distilled water for the oxygen supply equipment of elderly patients in its Homemaker and Case Management program. The chemical spill that disrupted water service to hundreds of thousands of West Virginia residents has caused a statewide shortage of distilled water.

Oxygen devices require distilled water or sterile water that contains no minerals. The minerals in purified bottled water can cause clogging or equipment damage.

CCWVa is working with state and local officials.