CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After 40 days, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said he was eyeing an end to the state of emergency for the Freedom Industries chemical spill.
"We are looking at the end of the state of emergency," Tomblin said Tuesday following a press event at the state Capitol.
He said the state is ready to officially focus on recovery efforts.
He and state Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen Bowling also hope that effort includes more help from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The two penned a letter to Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the CDC, to request more testing of crude MCHM and PPH, the chemicals that leaked from a faulty storage tank along the Elk River in early January and fouled tap water for 300,000 people.
"In addition, there is specific need to address ongoing population surveillance or monitoring," the letter states. "It is critical this study be funded and that work begins immediately."
A CDC official recently said there was no plan for medical monitoring, but Dr. Rahul Gupta, head of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, has repeatedly called for such a program.
He has also said repeatedly that long-term monitoring won't be cheap.
Tomblin and Bowling's letter stops short of calling on the CDC to pay for or conduct medical monitoring. Tomblin spokeswoman Amy Shuler Goodwin said the state is requesting "guidance" on how to conduct surveillance.
Tomblin said Tuesday he wasn't considering dipping into the state's Rainy Day Fund to pay for medical monitoring, despite calls from some lawmakers to do so.
"Not at this point and time," he said at the press event Tuesday. "I think there's a lot to learn, and we continue to learn more every day as we have the professionals out there doing tests and so forth.
"So that will be a decision that's made down the road."
Issues with public trust of the water supply, as well as the persistent odor of crude MCHM in some places, played a role in the lengthy state of emergency, Tomblin said.
Many have also reported symptoms like burning eyes, headaches and dry or itchy skin. Officials can't say whether those symptoms are in fact related to the chemical.
Tomblin already has called on professor Andrew Whelton, an environmental engineer with the University of South Alabama, and his team of consultants to begin testing tap water from a sample of homes in the ninecounty affected area.