Water assistance flowing from MOV

PARKERSBURG – Shipments of water from local retailers to the Charleston area have been reported.

On Thursday customers of West Virginia American Water in nine counties were told not to drink, bathe, cook or wash clothes using their tap water because of a chemical spill into the Elk River in Charleston. According to the Associated Press, the nine counties were Jackson, Roane, Kanawha, Boone, Cabell, Clay, Lincoln, Logan and Putnam.

Bill Wentz, media relations representative from Wal-Mart stores, said the company was in the process of sending water to the Charleston area.

He said the water the company was sending would not be from the company’s local stores.

“We are sending water there but it will be coming from a distribution center in North Carolina,” Wentz said. “The trucks with the water will arrive tomorrow and will be taken to a National Guard armory.”

A employee of CVS in Parkersburg, who did not give her name, confirmed bottled water had been shipped from the CVS store on Murdoch Avenue, but declined to say how much. That question was referred to a district manager in Charleston who did not return a call late Friday.

In a separate announcement, Wal-Mart Stores said eight of the company’s Sam’s Club division are temporarily waiving membership requirements to support communities affected by the Elk River chemical contamination.

All affected communities will have access to purchase drinking water, ready-to-eat meals, merchandise and services at Sam’s Club without a membership until further notice, the company said.

“We understand the life-altering and potentially devastating effect this situation can have not only on residents of these communities, but the small businesses and restaurants that depend on water for their livelihood,” said Lance de la Rosa, Sam’s Club senior vice president responsible for the company’s east division. “We want to make sure those in West Virginia and surrounding states have access to purchase the resources they need to persevere through this tragedy.”

The following Sam’s Clubs waiving membership requirements are:

* Vienna, 1100 Grand Central Ave.

* South Charleston, 2500 Mountaineer Blvd.

* Beckley, 1220 North Eisenhower Drive.

* Granville, W.Va., 6001 University Town Centre Drive.

* Clarksburg, 200 Emily Drive.

* Lynchburg, Va., 3912 Wards Road

* Bluefield, Va., 601 Commerce Drive.

* South Point, Ohio, 432 Private Drive.

The release said the clubs increased inventories of drinking water, ready-to-eat meals and other necessities are available for purchase to visitors, members and all communities affected by the emergency situation.

The Sam’s Club in South Charleston has free portable handwashing stations available, providing safe water for people to wash their hands.