West Virginia’s chemical spill contaminates water in nine counties today. This chemical spill warning went out to about 300,000 people this morning and it has shut down schools and many of the businesses housed the towns and cities in those counties, according to Fox News live on Friday morning, Jan. 10.
CNN reports this morning that folks in those nine West Virginia counties woke up to “stark warnings” about their tap water. The residents were told:
“Don’t drink it. Don’t cook with it. Don’t even brush your teeth or take a shower in it.”
A state of emergency has been declared for the area by President Obama. Needless to say, there’s not a drop of bottled water left on the shelves in the stores of these nine counties under this water warning. The National Guard is bringing truckloads of water to the area today.
Residents of the area talked with Fox News this morning telling them it started with a smell coming off the tab water. It was a smell that was sweet, like candy. One corner store owner said folks started asking him where the smell in his store was coming from and he told them it was “the liquorice,” which is what he thought was causing the sweet smell encompassing the store. He didn’t know at the time that the smell was coming from the water each time they turned on the facet.
It is Freedom Industries that is responsible for the chemical spill in the Elk River, which is in the central and southwestern parts of West Virginia. A bit of a panic set in when the announcement was made about the chemical tainted water. The emergency rooms in local hospitals were flooded with people who had been drinking and using the water.
The chemical, 4-Methycyclohexane Methanol, while not toxic, it is harmful if swallowed, reports the Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson, Thomas Aluise.
It was a 48,000-gallon tank at Freedom Industries that sprung a leak, pouring the chemical into the river about a mile upriver from West Virginia American Water Co. facility. How much of the chemical made it into the water is unknown at this time.
It was Freedom Industries own toxicologists that reported to the water company that there had been a spill and there is “some health risks.”
The nine-county pipes need to be cleared of the chemical and this is a monumental task. There is no time-line available for how long it will take to clear the tainted water from the pipes. Kent Carper, president of the Kanawha County Commission reports:
"You've got 60 miles of this system, and it's full of this water," Carper said. "And people aren't using the water."
West Virginia American Water Co. customers in Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam and Roane counties are the folks dealing with this chemical tainted water crisis today.