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State of emergency, water ban issued in West Virginia over chemical leak

Published time: January 10, 2014 00:54
Edited time: January 10, 2014 07:41
AFP Photo / Voishmel

AFP Photo / Voishmel

West Virginia governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced a state of emergency in nine counties on Thursday, following a chemical spill into the Elk River, prompting a water ban that is reported to impact 300,000 customers.

Local residents are urged not to drink, bathe, or cook with the water from their taps. Water use has only been permitted for flushing or fire emergencies.

West Virginia American Water customers in Boone, Lincoln, Cabell, Kanawha, Jackson, Clay, Logan, Roane and Putnam counties are included in the state of emergency, according to WSAZ.

“If you are a customer of West Virginia American Water, please do not drink, bathe, or cook, or do laundry using the water at this time. Please only use the water for sanitary reasons like flushing and fire protection,” said a voicemail from the Kanawha county emergency services received by locals.

Photo from flickr.com user iwasaround

According to reports, the leak of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, a chemical used in the froth flotation process during coal washing, came from a tank at Freedom Industries in Charleston.

So far Freedom Industries had not provided any comment.

The Kanawha Charleston Health Department told WSAZ that daycares, universities, restaurants, and schools will need to shut down.

West Virginia American Water stated that the leaked material is hazardous, but is not deadly.The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been tasked with bringing clean water into the area.

Photo from flickr.com user iwasaround

The smell of the contaminated water is reported to be similar to liquorice, and officials said would likely taste like gas.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said it is not yet known how long it will take to fix the leak and the state of emergency will be in place until the water is safe to drink.

Locals are reporting that stores are running out of bottled water and unverified reports on Twitter describe people fighting over leftover bottled water.

Photo from flickr.com user iwasaround

There are several water stations being set up for West Virginia American Water customers, Kanawha County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management reported.

Photo from flickr.com user iwasaround

Comments (42)

 

A Hill 10.01.2014 18:59

West Virginia might have some people that are not all there but so does every other state. Most of us are normal people just like you. The things you people say about West Virginia happens in your state too. So do not accuse West Virginia people been any different from people from all the other states. And the water issue is nothing to do with the federal government it was from the chemical plant not maintaining their tanks that was above the water treatment plant. If the government or any other corporation was trying to make money off the water then why are the shipping in water to give to these citizens for free.

 

Neil Varney 10.01.2014 18:32

I had my water frozen up until the day this stupid panic leak. 3 days without water and then finally getting it back only to be told I can't use it. For me I never really drank tap water but count me out. I've already showered twice and I'm washing my clothes now. There is nothing wrong with the water. I'm just not going to participate.

 

teddy 10.01.2014 18:13

Paul Hirsh 10.01.2014 12:31

Looks like the US is totally becoming China !

  

if you at all follow the Chinese international news (yes it is state news, but the US Media ITSELF is a huge propaganda arm of the US "corporate state") -you will be astounded at how OPENLY the chinese leaders are recognizing their pollution AND show after show it is a NATIONAL discussion about the projects to balance their rise WITH correcting the pollution. in america you DON"T SEE IT AT ALL, NONE whatsoever of any importance except to HIDE the real causes. america has NOTHING on china in addressing this problem.

View all comments (42)
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