Is your water contaminated with unsafe levels of the chemical C-8? The Environmental Protection Agency just issued new guidelines for what is safe for human consumption.

C-8 exposure is linked to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, hypercholesterolemia, and pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia.

The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health has issued a ‘Do Not Drink’ advisory for drinking water in Vienna and two other public water systems, located in Parkersburg and Martinsburg.

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Several municipalities, including Martinsburg and Vienna, West Virginia, have water that has levels of C-8 above the new EPA standard.  The West Virginia DEP has called on Parkersburg to close one of its wells.

What can be done?  Immediately, residents of Vienna are eligible to receive free, safe drinking water.  Chemours, formerly DuPont, the company that is responsible for the contamination of the water with C-8, has agreed to pay for the filtration of the water in Vienna.

The City of Martinsburg has shut down its Big Springs Water Filtration Plant for further testing and evaluation. In Parkersburg, officials have switched the water supply to one that is below the safety level for C-8.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department recommends the use of other water sources like bottled or packaged water. The Department also notes that boiling the drinking water is not an effective measure for making the water safe. This applies to:

  • Water used in food preparation
  • Water used in ice machines
  • Water used in drink machines, coffee and tea makers
  • Water used in fruit and vegetable misters in retail stores
  • Washing fruits and vegetables
  • Drinking fountains
  • Water used for brushing teeth

The Department maintains that the water is safe to use for dish washing, hand washing, and bathing.

Ask Dr. Brooks


1. Where can I get safe drinking water in Vienna?

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp says water distribution sites will be open Friday beginning at 9 AM for any Vienna residents wanting to get water. Residents need to bring their own containers to fill with water.

The locations are the Grand Central Mall, the Utility Board Building on 60th Street and the old Johns Manville facility on River Road.

People can come get water from 8 AM until 8 PM every day at all three locations.

2. How long will I need to use bottled water?

Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department officials say the Do Not Drink advisory could be in place as long as four weeks or more for the residents of Vienna and Boaz. They say bottled water should be available throughout the duration of this advisory.

3. Has the level of contamination in the water changed?

No, the only thing that has changed is EPA’s guideline for the safe level of C-8 in drinking water. The drinking water is as contaminated as it was before, but now the EPA is recognizing the dangers of that contamination.

4. Are home water filters effective to remove C8?

The only filter that is effective is one that uses activated carbon. Check manufacture specification to determine if the filter uses activated carbon.