Chemical spill could take days to clean up in West Virginia

By Alicia Mayle,

Due to an accidental chemical spill by a Charleston company, many West Virginians are without water, and have been without for three days.

Residents started complaining about a bad odor that spelled like licorice last Thursday. The smell was caused by a chemical called 4-methycyclohexane methanol that leaked into the Elk River from a 40 thousand gallon tank owned by Freedom Industries, according to the Associated Press. Only about 7,500 gallons are actually believed to have leaked from the tank.

According to Reuters , Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state emergency for nine counties on Friday. These counties include: Kanawha, Clay, Lincoln, Putnam, Boone, Jackson, Logan, and Roane.

Drinking this water is harmful. The State Journal says that the total numbers of calls to the Poison Control are over 1,000. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to rashes, burning sensations, dizziness and nausea. Some who have experienced the burning sensations may not have called Poison Control and are unaccounted for.

Unfortunately, cleaning up this chemical spill will take days. There are employees working to get the chemicals flushed out and the water drinkable again.

Photo Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons



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