West Virginia declares state of emergency after chemical spill, 300,000 without water

By Daniel S Levine,

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency in nine counties after a chemical spill in the Elk River on Thursday. A tap water ban was ordered as a result, cutting off 300,000 people from water.

The state of emergency effects Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam and Roane counties, reports NBC News. Later, the West Virginia American Water Company did confirm that its water was contaminated. That lead to citizens rushing to stores to buy up gallons of water and cups.

According to the Associated Press, the advisory also covers the state capital, Charleston. The federal government also declared a federal emergency Friday morning.

Drinking the water will lead to numerous symptoms, including vomiting, eye and skin irritation and burning in the throat. Residents were advised that boiling the tap water is not going to remove the chemicals.

WSAV reported this morning that West Virginia American Water, Dupont and the Corp of Engineers will be conducting tests this morning, which the company thinks will give them a better idea of the situation.

"Right now, our priorities are our hospitals, nursing homes, and schools," Tomblin said in a statement. "I’ve been working with our National Guard and Office of Emergency Services in an effort to provide water and supplies through the county emergency services offices as quickly as possible."

Officials still do not know what caused the spill.

image: Wikimedia Commons



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