What it feels like to drive 60 miles for a shower

The sun sets on the skyline August 23, 2003 of Charleston, W.V.

The ban on tap water was lifted for a small small chunk of West Virginia today. A bit of good news for the 300,000 people who were told not to wash, drink, cook or basically do anything else with tap water after a chemical spill late last week.

"On Saturday afternoon, FEMA started shipping water into the area," says Don Tate, who owns a chain of Fas Chek supermarkets in and near Charleston, W.V. "All of our stores each has a trailer-load of bottled water. ... But they are expecting to get things so tomorrow evening water can get back into the homes."

Not everyone is so lucky. People in the Charleston metropolitan area may be days away from being cleared to use the water, though officials said the water in certain designated areas was safe to drink as long as people flushed out their systems. 

And it's not just about drinking water.

"There were a couple motels right outside the area that set up shower areas where people could come and take showers at no cost," says Don Tate, who owns a chain of Fas Chek supermarkets in and near Charleston, W.V. "My family and I went about 60 miles away, to do four loads of laundry and took showers."

 

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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