Erie Water Works: Water Contamination Not Likely To Happen Here - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Erie Water Works CEO: Water Contamination Not Likely To Happen Here

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Good news for the hundreds of thousands of West Virginia residents who have gone without water for the past 5 days.
A water ban, due to a chemical leak, was just lifted Monday afternoon.

We wanted to know if a situation like this could ever happen here, so we caught up with the CEO of Erie Water Works to find out.

The short answer is it's very unlikely, that what happened in West Virginia could ever happen here in Erie.

For the past 5 days, 300,000 West Virginia residents in 9 counties were instructed not to drink their water, bathe in it, or cook with it.
Leaving people to rely on bottled water and re-fills at government distribution centers.

A chemical used in processing coal spilled into the Elk river on Thursday, contaminating and forcing a shutdown of the entire water system.

Paul Vojtek, CEO of Erie Water Works, says it's a concern that residents here really don't have to worry about.
With two different water plants, and one of the biggest water sources in the world right in our backyard, he says our water supply is very safe.

"Our intakes are between a mile and a mile and a half out into the open waters, so contamination of our source is very unlikely," said Vojtek "You should never say never but it's very unlikely that anything like that would happen here in Erie," Vojtek added.

The water restrictions in West Virginia just started lifting late Monday afternoon.
They're flushing water lines in zones, so there isn't an overload of people using water again.

And when a situation like this happens, nearby water authorities are often called upon to help, "We've helped in the past, when Hurricane Sandy went through the eastern part of the state we actually helped out the Lehigh Valley Authority with a generator, we happened to have it, and it matched exactly what they were looking for" said Vojtek. "So there's a network within the water utility industry, we try to have almost like a mutual aid system. Unfortunately, Erie had nothing that could help out down there, but we would have been more than happy to do what we could've had we been able to," Vojtek added.

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