Chemical spill ruins water supply, sparks state of emergency in West Virginia

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
By Paul Martin

by: Julie Wilson
NaturalNews.com
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

More than 300,000 West Virginia residents in nine different counties as of Saturday are on day three of a do-not-use water order. The order was issued after the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, a foaming agent used in the coal cleaning process, leaked through a one-inch hole in a water storage tank at the Freedom Industries plant, subsequently contaminating the state’s water supply late last week.

The water supplied by West Virginia American Water Co. was declared dangerous after the licorice-smelling chemical overflowed a containment area, releasing approximately 5,000 gallons onto the land. The spillage seeped into the soil and then quickly made its way into the Elk River. The leak occurred half a mile up the river from the water supplier.

W. Va. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency Thursday for the following counties: Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, Jackson, Lincoln, Roane, Clay and Logan. Residents were told that the water could only be used for flushing toilets and fighting fires. “Please don’t drink, don’t wash with, don’t do anything with the water,” asked the governor.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, exposure to the chemical is known to cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, rashes and irritated skin. The long-term effects of human exposure are unknown, and even more disturbingly, the center fails to provide detailed treatment for exposure other than washing and flushing affected areas.

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