West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has declared a state of emergency in nine areas after a chemical spill contaminated water supplies.
Tap water ban
Nearly 100,000 residents were affected and have been told not to drink, cook, bathe or wash with the contaminated water supplied by West Virginia American Water.
The chemical, a foaming agent used in the coal preparation process, leaked from a tank on January 9. The amount that leaked wasn’t immediately known, but West Virginia American Water has a treatment factory nearby and it is the company’s customers who are affected.
“The water has been contaminated,” Tomblin said, adding that he didn’t know how long the emergency declaration would last.
Local authorities, though, said they aren’t sure what hazard the spill poses to residents and that there were no immediate reports of people getting sick.
As many as 50 residents had reportedly lined up to buy water at a convenience store near the state Capitol in Charleston.