Residents in eleven West Virginia counties are being advised not to use tap water for anything other than flushing toilets following a spill of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol into the Elk River in Charleston. This includes not drinking it, using it for cooking, bathing or doing laundry, etc.
4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol is a chemical in the mining of coal. The spill originated at Freedom Industries and occurred “above the intake of the Kanawha Valley water treatment plant in Charleston, which serves 100,000 homes, schools and businesses, or 250,000 to 300,000 people in Kanawha, Boone, Jackson, Clay, Putnam, Logan, Lincoln, Cabell, Putnam, Pocahontas and Roane Counties,” according to Laura Jordan, West Virginia Water’s external affairs manager.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has ordered emergency workers to distribute bottled water at designated centers in the affected areas after declaring a state of emergency. In the meantime, President Obama has also issued an order for federal aid to the state.
As of now, there is no word of when the ban on using tap water would be lifted.