Winfield Quick Stop

West Virginia Water Crisis Film Excerpt

This is the work-in-progress excerpt from my film on the West Virginia Water Crisis that I showed at the West Virginia International Film Festival on May 13, 2014.

*Caption titled “natural disaster” should read “national disaster.”

Although the majority of my footage for the film is of individual citizen’s responses to the crisis, I chose Dr. Andrew Whelton as the sole narrator for this piece because I felt that his story made for a more cohesive and in-depth narrative for such a short excerpt of the film. Dr. Whelton and his research team came unsolicited and unfunded from the University of South Alabama to test the effects of the contaminated water on plumbing systems in affected residents’ homes. As you will see from this clip, their perspectives and understandings of the crisis evolved and forced their work to evolve as well.

At the end of the clip, Dr. Whelton offers a perspective on who is responsible for the botched response to the water crisis that may be surprising to some. I know it certainly was for me. I think it’s important to remember that we all have different perspectives to offer on this, and that this is just one of those perspectives. However, I think Dr. Whelton’s message about who is responsible for the poor communication following the chemical spill instructs us all to take a broader view of the systemic inequalities that contributed to these problems.

It’s also important to know that made this clip for a West Virginia audience, so there is some footage that requires insider knowledge. For example, the last clip of the protest is located at the Governor’s Mansion and is paired with the audio narrative about Dr. Whelton’s meeting with the governor.

I would like to thank the WVIFF, the sponsors for the event, and the other filmmakers for their dedication and creativity that is so clearly evident in their films. I also would like to thank Dr. Whelton and all of the participants in this film, as well as the National Science Foundation for providing a grant that made this film possible. And, of course, I would like to thank my friends, family, professors, and the people of West Virginia for supporting me and inspiring me to keep going on this project.

Ultimately, I hope that my film can help improve communication between the scientific community, public officials responding to crises, and the people on the ground experiencing the crises. We all have a lot to learn about how to deal with events like this and there is a desperate need for us to start being proactive to prevent them from happening in the future.

Look at What You Helped Do!

I received nearly $300 in donations from several generous online donors to buy water, paper towels, and other supplies for people affected by the West Virginia Water Crisis. It was a great day, and I hope I can keep coming back with more for water for people who need it.

Yes, many people affected by the WV Water Crisis still aren’t drinking the water. Yes, it’s getting expensive for them. Yes, you can help.

To learn more about why people are still afraid to drink the water, read my previous post.

If you would like to donate, go to http://www.wvwatercrisis.com/waterdistribution and click on my PayPal link.

This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International License: http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses

Water and Supply Drive in Columbus, Ohio

Water at a Distribution Site in WV

I am so happy to announce that I am working with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences School of Environment & Natural Resources, Lauren Bates, and several others to organize a water and supply drive for the people affected by the West Virginia Water Crisis.

The state is no longer distributing safe, clean water even though we just learned that the water not only contains MCHM and PPH but formaldehyde, a carcinogen. You can view the most up-to-date news on the crisis here:

www.wchstv.com

www.wvgazette.com

You can view the video footage from the most recent water crisis Town hall meeting here (scroll to the bottom to view the footage in nine parts). I found Part 3 especially telling of the most recent and frightening developments.

Once we have supply drop-off locations and dates confirmed, I will update this post. I am also creating a static page so you can access this information from the main menu of this blog.

Supplies we will be collecting include but are not limited to bottled water, either by gallons or cases; baby wipes; dry shampoo; paper plates and napkins, plastic utensils; and baby formula.

Water and supplies will be distributed at the Winfield Quick Stop Sunoco Station in Winfield, WV (Putnam County).

Current needs:

To take the water and supplies back to WV, we need a UHaul truck or trailer. If anyone has access to a truck or trailer, and would like to allow us to borrow it for the drive, please contact me, Krista Bryson by messaging me here or emailing me at wvwatercrisis@gmail.com.

We will also need gas money. I will be traveling down in my own personal vehicle using my own money, but I do ask for support for fueling the large truck hauling the water. We will need at least $500 dollars if we rent the largest UHaul truck and buy gas to get to WV. Any money raised that does not go towards truck rental and gas, I will use to buy more supplies. I will also do a blog post with photographs of the receipts for accountability.

Please Donate by clicking on the PayPal link below.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=89N86X7PQJTZG&lc=US&item_name=West%20Virginia%20Water%20Crisis%20Relief%20Fund&currency_code=USD&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF%3abtn_donateCC_LG%2egif%3aNonHosted

Lee Higginbotham, Putnam County Worker, Out of Work Due to Crisis

Lee offers the perspective of someone who is temporarily out of work due to the West Virginia Water Crisis. Many people claim the crisis is only a minor inconvenience to those affected, but just a few days missed pay can be financially disastrous for some people.

My parents have given store credit to several people who would otherwise be unable to buy food this week. If this goes on for much longer, many say they won’t be able to pay their rent next month.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Janice Faber, Owner of Winfield Quick Stop

In our business,the Winfield Quick Stop (Sunoco), we are unable to make coffee because the coffee makers are connected to the local water source, which the health department required us to discontinue using after the contamination. Saturday morning I called our wholesaler, Liberty USA. I spoke with Liz, the owner’s daughter, about our situation. I ask her to send us coffee makers that we could pour clean water into so we could have safe coffee. She had her warehouse manager to bring us two coffee makers, 30 cases of water, extra coffee, & cups. They pulled through for us & we greatly appreciated them. We now have fresh, safe coffee for our community. Thank you Liberty USA!!!! Located In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We are serving free coffee at this time.

Steve Meeks, WV Department of Highways Worker, Liberty, Putnam County

Steve Meeks, who works for the West Virginia Department of Highways, talks about working the midnight shift for WVDOH. During the first midnight shift of the water crisis, he helped “about 25 people” fill jugs of water from a pump station.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Sadara Leslie, Mother of Two, Hometown, Putnam County

Sadara talks about the challenges of finding water to make bottles for her toddler, concerns about the long-term health effects of the water crisis, knowing people who were hospitalized due to skin rashes,how the crisis affects small businesses that “can’t afford” the losses, and her thoughts on how the media is covering the water crisis.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The Smell of the Water in Winfield

I filmed this video of the West Virginia Water Crisis yesterday afternoon. After you let the water run about ten seconds, the smell became so strong. It did smell like licorice or anise seed. It was overpowering. You can also see there are more bubbles than usual in tap water (there are always some because of the chemicals used in water treatment plants). But this water was fizzy.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Krista Bryson, The Smell Outside in Winfield, WV

I took this video last night, Saturday, November 11 at the Winfield Quick Stop in Putnam County. The wind was blowing strong gusts of the “licorice” smell even though the spill was three days ago.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Krista Bryson, Driving Through Eleanor and Winfield

This is my mom and me on our way to the store. We drive through Eleanor, WV where the National Guard and Red Cross set up a water filling/distribution station and across the Kanawha River and into Winfield, WV.

This morning, I heard unconfirmed reports on the ground that it will be three days before water is potable (safe to drink).

Sorry about the incorrect dates I stated at the beginning of the video. It’s been a crazy time reporting here and I barely know what day it is without a calendar. The chemical spill into the Elk River occurred the morning of Thursday, January 9 and was reported to the public at 5 pm that evening. I filmed this vlog the morning of Sunday, January 12. I spent all day yesterday filming and blogging about the #WaterCrisis and all day Friday live tweeting all news and on-the-ground updates. I have many more updates and stories to tell. So please keep checking back. I have some wonderful friends now helping me edit and upload new videos. Thanks, Jen and Meg!

I also plan to have a more formal reflection on the events of the past few days soon. There are much larger, long-term concerns that I want to talk about, especially within the context of history of the exploitation of the environment and people of West Virginia.

Thank you to everyone who has viewed and shared this blog. People need to know what is going on here in West Virginia and start thinking about what has been going on here for decades.

You can also follow me for updates on Twitter: @klbryson