WINFIELD, W.Va. - Poca High School was the second-largest water distribution point during the crisis that started last Thursday.
About 100,000 West Virginia American water customers in nine counties couldn't use tap water for anything but flushing toilets or fighting fires because of a chemical spill.
Putnam Emergency Services Director Frank Chapman said the Putnam County high school handed out more water bottles and filled more containers than any site other than the Charleston Civic Center.
The report came during the Putnam County Commission's regular meeting Tuesday morning.
The only problem Chapman reported was a miscommunication about the number of customers affected in Hurricane.
"Originally our understanding was there were only about 40 residents involved," Chapman said. "(Friday) we find out we have close to 1,000 residents that were affected, because it affected everything on (U.S.) 60. Once we found that out, we started working with the fire department and shipping water."
The confusion came because some Hurricane residents are billed through different utilities or live outside city limits Chapman said that otherwise the response to the disaster has been smooth and efficient.
"Within 24 hours we started putting water in the hands of Putnam County citizens," Chapman said. "That's rare. Normally you're looking at 72 hours."
Chapman said that it took a day or two for water from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to arrive in Putnam County.
"Everything we got during that first 24 to 48 hours was contributions and donations from other organizations," Chapman said. "But it's very honestly unheard of for a county with an event like this to have resources flowing within 24 hours. We did that. We were fortunate."
Not all Putnam County residents were affected by the chemical spill. Many Teays Valley and Scott Depot residents get water from Putnam Public Service District, which doesn't get water from the Elk or Kanawha rivers. "Our water source has no relationship to the Elk River whatsoever, so it's absolutely safe," Putnam PSD General Manager Mike McNulty told commissioners.
McNulty said his water treatment plant and offices were inundated with calls and even visits from residents concerned about their water. Their first effort was to spread the word that their water was safe.