Governor Tomblin has issued a state of emergency for parts of West Virginia. Thursday morning a chemical leak of 4-Methylcoyclohexane Methanol was reported from Freedom Industries. The chemical is used in the preparation of coal. The chemical was reported to have been leaking in the Elk River, up-stream from the WV American Water treatment facility in Charleston.
The Bomont area in Clay County, as well as any other homes serviced by the Queen Shoals PSD, is included in the state of emergency. Other counties in the affected area include Kanawha, Boone, Putnam, Lincoln, Logan, Roane, and Jackson and the Culloden area of Cabell County. American Water customers within these counties are to use extreme caution. Residents are urged NOT TO DRINK THE WATER, BATHE, COOK, and DO LAUNDRY OR DISHES. Please just use the water for flushing the toilet.
Health officials advise that if residents feel that they have been contaminated or feel strangely after having consumed the water, they should seek medical attention.
Symptoms to look out for include nausea, vomiting, severe eye irritation and a burning sensation. Severe symptoms include severe burning in throat, severe eye irritation, non-stop vomiting, trouble breathing or severe skin irritation such as skin blistering.
Most businesses and restaurants have been forced closed until further notice. People rushed out to stores, buying all the bottled water they could. State and county officials are working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies, including the West Virginia National Guard and have set up emergency water supply locations across the affected areas.
As of Monday, Gov. Tomblin stated that the most recent chemical testing results on the water are looking promising. Testing results done on the water over the weekend have been recorded in the 1 part per million range. The Center for Disease control states the 1PPM mark is the level required to safely flush the system. Once the flushing begins, it will be done in zones with the Charleston area being done first. The public and the school systems will be notified on how to flush their own lines when it is time to do so. It is stressed to not flush your lines until all tests have been conducted and you are instructed to do.
The State of Emergency is still in effect at this time and customers of Queen Shoals PSD or WV American Water are still urged not to drink the water, bathe, cook, do laundry or do dishes until further notice. Updated information on the water crisis can be found at www.amwater.com.