Joined by a host of local, state and federal officials, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said the government hasn't forgotten about the Elk River chemical spill.
"It will be a month tomorrow when this chemical spill happened," Tomblin said Wednesday during a press conference. "We will not lose sight of our goal of keeping your water safe."
During the press conference, the governor's first in two weeks, Tomblin said officials will continue to be vigilant.
He said testing at the water plant will continue "for the foreseeable future" and that state officials would oversee the changing of filters at the West Virginia American Water Plant, a process the company has said will take some time.
On Jan. 9, officials discovered thousands of gallons of crude MCHM and PPH leaking from a hole in a storage tank owned by Freedom Industries. At least 10,000 gallons is believed to have escaped the container, an unknown amount of which made it into the Elk River.
Shortly thereafter, the chemicals overwhelmed the filtration system at the water treatment facility about 1.5 miles downstream from the spill.
Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spoke Wednesday, the first time they've joined the governor during a press conference.
Dr. Tanja Popovic, acting director of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health, briefly described the CDC's involvement in helping state officials.
She said people could drink the water, bathe in it and use it however they like.
That doesn't mean it's safe, a word that's apparently not in the CDC's vocabulary.
"We're not really talking about if the water is safe, we're talking about is the water appropriate for use, given the information we know about MCHM," Popovic said after the press conference.
"We do not use the term safe . . . because that does not well describe what we can do with the information that we have," she said.
The CDC created the line for how much crude MCHM could likely be in the water and not cause adverse health affects. That 1-part-per-million level was crafted using the information available, Popovic said.
She said the procedure relied heavily on the fact that little is known about the chemical and therefore extra caution is needed.
She added an "interagency team" with officials from several federal agencies who have a combined 200 years in toxicological experienced concurred with the CDC level.
The CDC is not ready to say if symptoms reported by hundreds of people after the spill are in fact connected to the spill, Popovic said. She then said, based in part on the severity of those symptoms, it's "unlikely" the chemical will cause long-term adverse health affects.
Her answers seemed to vary some after the press conference.
The CDC told pregnant women not to drink the water with any amount of crude MCHM almost a week after it said water with less than 1 part per million of the chemical was likely safe.