WV Chemical Spill Declared Federal Disaster

By AMY HUDAK | ahudak@whag.com

Published 01/10 2014 07:05AM

Updated 01/10 2014 11:24AM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Nine counties in West Virginia are under a State of Emergency after a chemical spill into the Elk River contaminated the drinking water for nearly 300,000 people.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issued a State of Emergency Thursday evening, which was followed by an emergency declaration from the White House.

The Governor said West Virginians in the affected areas are urged not to use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing.

This affects West Virginia American Water Co. customers in Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam and Roane Counties.

According to officials, the chemical contaminating the water is not toxic but is harmful if swallowed.

The leak came from a 48,000 gallon tank at Freedom Industries, a chemical storage facility, but it's uncertain how much of the chemical leaked.

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