The governor of West Virginia declared a state of emergency on Thursday, after a massive chemical spill has made its way into the tap water in 9 counties
CHARLESTON WEST VIRGINIA (INTELLIHUB) — A chemical spill caused by Freedom Industries finally reached a water treatment plant Thursday, prompting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to declare a state of emergency.
Reports say that the “chemical foaming agent” reached the “American Water” facility after being accidentally released into the river during a botched coal production process that may need to be revised.
Under orders of the governor, FEMA is now involved and the warning extends out into 9 West Virginia counties.
Water samples are currently undergoing testing.
The emergency declaration involves customers in all or parts of the counties of Kanawha, Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam and Roane. In the capital city of Charleston, a smell similar to licorice or cough syrup was evident in the air both outdoors and in areas where it had already reached the water supply.
The smell was especially strong at the Charleston Marriott hotel a few blocks from the Elk River, which flows into the Kanawha River in downtown Charleston. The Marriott shut off all water to rooms, and then turned it back on so guests could flush toilets. Each guest was given two 16.9-ounce bottles of spring water upon returning to the hotel.
The West Virginia National Guard planned to mobilize at an air base at Charleston’s Yeager Airport on Friday to distribute bottled drinking water to emergency services agencies in the nine counties, Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety spokesman Lawrence Messina told The Associated Press.
It has also been reported that people in the area have already took to the stores grabbing much-needed supplies and bottled drinking water off the shelves, in what looked like a mini Black Friday free-for-all at Walmart.