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W.Va. Gov. Issues State of Emergency for 9 Counties, Water Ban for 100,000+


UPDATE 1/10/14 @ 7:45 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia American Water hopes a test Friday morning will give them a better idea about the situation following a chemical leak in Charleston.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency Thursday after a chemical leak in Charleston. This included a water ban for West Virginia American Water customers in nine counties.

A spokesperson with West Virginia American Water tells WSAZ.com at 8 a.m. the Corp of Engineers and Dupont will conduct tests at the same time to to see if each test gets the same results. The water company hopes this test will give a better look at the water standards.

WVAW has also been working with a chemist from DuPont and Laura Jordan says he's found that the chemical is leaking at ground level.

Jordan says there is a possibility this leak has been going on for sometime before it was discovered Thursday.

A spokesperson with Freedom Industries tells WSAZ.com the company will release a statement at 10:30 a.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/10/14 @ 6:30 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Thousands of West Virginia American Water customers are still asked not to use their water unless its for sanitation reasons.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency Thursday after a chemical leak in Charleston. This included a water ban for West Virginia American Water customers in nine counties.

A spokesperson with West Virginia American Water tells WSAZ.com they are conducting water quality testing every hour to figure out the level of concentration in the water.

The samples have been sent to a water plant in Huntington for testing.

So far there has been no conclusive results. The water company also doesn't know how much of the chemical got in the water.

Laura Jordan says there is no way to treat the water. The company still doesn't have a timetable for when the water will be safe to use.

Jordan says this is isolated and the chemical shouldn't move to other areas.

Meanwhile, emergency responders are expected to meet about 6 a.m. Friday to discuss the situation and come up with a plan to distribute water to affected customers.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced early Friday morning that the White House has approved a federal emergency declaration to assist with the emergency water situation in nine West Virginia counties.

The state of emergency includes West Virginia American Water customers in Kanawha, Cabell, Boone, Putnam, Lincoln, Logan, Clay, Roane and Jackson counties.

West Virginia American Water says Culloden water customers are the only ones affected by the water ban. No other Cabell County customers are affected.

West Virginia American Water says customers on Queen Shoals PSD, Lincoln PSD, City of Culloden PSD and Reamer Hill are also impacted by the advisory.

A spokesperson with Freedom Industries tells WSAZ.com the company will release a statement at 10:30 a.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/10/14 @ 4:15 a.m
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced early Friday morning that the White House has approved a federal emergency declaration to assist with the emergency water situation in nine West Virginia counties.

Governor Tomblin declared a state of emergency Thursday evening after a chemical leak in Charleston. The state of emergency includes West Virginia American Water customers in Kanawha, Cabell, Boone, Putnam, Lincoln, Logan, Clay, Roane and Jackson counties.

West Virginia American Water says Culloden water customers are the only ones affected by the water ban. No other Cabell County customers are affected.

West Virginia American Water says customers on Queen Shoals PSD, Lincoln PSD, City of Culloden PSD and Reamer Hill are also impacted by the advisory.

Logan County 911 Director Marilyn Triplett Crosby says, "There is only a small area in Logan County affected by the water issue also....just a few communities that border Boone County and get their water from Boone County. They are Sharples, Clothier, Coal Valley, Mifflin, Dobra, and Monclo. Marilyn Crosby Logan County 911 Director"

WVAW customers are told not to use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing, or bathing. You can use the water for toilets and fire emergencies. Boiling water will not get rid of the chemical.

This is believed to impact 100,000 customers.

"Right now, our priorities are our hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. I've been working with our National Guard and Office of Emergency Services in an effort to provide water and supplies through the county emergency services offices as quickly as possible," Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said.

The Kanawha Charleston Health Department, which covers Kanawha and Putnam counties tells WSAZ.com all permit holders in both counties, including daycares, universities, restaurants, and schools need to shut down.

Julie Miller with the Boone County Health Department says restaurants are also closing in the county.

West Virginia DHHR says symptoms include: severe burning in throat, severe eye irritation, non-stop vomiting, trouble breathing or severe skin irritation such as skin blistering.

Homeland Security says if you feel sick, seek medical attention at a local hospital or call poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222. You can also call the Emergency Operations Center at 304-746-8828.

According to a news release, the leak happened at Freedom Industries in Charleston. The leaked product is 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, which is used in the froth flotation process of coal washing and preparation.

The chemical is believed to have leaked into the Elk River.

West Virginia American Water believes the material is hazardous, but is not lethal in it's current form.

FEMA has been contacted to bring clean water into the area.

There is no estimated time when this will be repaired, according to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The State of Emergency will be in place until Department of Health and Human Reasources, Department of Environmental Protection and West Virginia American Water determine the water is safe.

They say customers with St. Albans, Cedar Grove Water, Town of West Hamlin Water, Branchland-Midkiff PSD, Putnam PSD, and Logan County PSD are not affected by this leak.

Putnam PSD is asking customers to consider filling bottle or 2 for friends & family living in the area covered by Do Not Use warning.

The West Hamlin Volunteer Fire Department has water available for WVAW customers in Lincoln County.

Dr. Michael Castellani with Marshall University tells WSAZ.com the chemical is colorless and there is a faint odor.

Dr. Castellani says if you bath with contaminated water, it will irritate your skin.

He tells WSAZ.com it is also a respiratory irritant if you inhale it.

If you drink the water, Dr. Castenalli says it may have a gas taste.

Lawrence Messina, Communications Director for the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety says WV Legislature will convene Friday, but with skeleton staff. Messina says the legislative manager has advised all other staff to stay home.

We have several crews on the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/9/14 @ 9:35 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has issued a state of emergency for nine counties after a chemical leak in Kanawha County Thursday morning.

The state of emergency includes West Virginia American Water customers in Kanawha, Cabell, Boone, Putnam, Lincoln, Logan, Clay, Roane and Jackson counties.

West Virginia American Water says Culloden water customers are the only ones affected by the water ban. No other Cabell County customers are affected.

West Virginia American Water says customers on Queen Shoals PSD, Lincoln PSD, City of Culloden PSD and Reamer Hill are also impacted by the advisory.

Logan County 911 Director Marilyn Triplett Crosby says, "There is only a small area in Logan County affected by the water issue also....just a few communities that border Boone County and get their water from Boone County. They are Sharples, Clothier, Coal Valley, Mifflin, Dobra, and Monclo. Marilyn Crosby Logan County 911 Director"

WVAW customers are told not to use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing, or bathing. You can use the water for toilets and fire emergencies. Boiling water will not get rid of the chemical.

This is believed to impact 100,000 customers.

"Right now, our priorities are our hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. I've been working with our National Guard and Office of Emergency Services in an effort to provide water and supplies through the county emergency services offices as quickly as possible," Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said.

The Kanawha Charleston Health Department, which covers Kanawha and Putnam counties tells WSAZ.com all permit holders in both counties, including daycares, universities, restaurants, and schools need to shut down.

Julie Miller with the Boone County Health Department says restaurants are also closing in the county.

West Virginia DHHR says symptoms include: severe burning in throat, severe eye irritation, non-stop vomiting, trouble breathing or severe skin irritation such as skin blistering.

Homeland Security says if you feel sick, seek medical attention at a local hospital or call poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222. You can also call the Emergency Operations Center at 304-746-8828.

According to a news release, the leak happened at Freedom Industries in Charleston. The leaked product is 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, which is used in the froth flotation process of coal washing and preparation.

The chemical is believed to have leaked into the Elk River.

West Virginia American Water believes the material is hazardous, but is not lethal in it's current form.

FEMA has been contacted to bring clean water into the area.

Officials describe the smell as something similar to liquorice.

There is no estimated time when this will be repaired, according to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The State of Emergency will be in place until Department of Health and Human Reasources, Department of Environmental Protection and West Virginia American Water determine the water is safe.

They say customers with St. Albans, Cedar Grove Water, Town of West Hamlin Water, Branchland-Midkiff PSD, Putnam PSD, and Logan County PSD are not affected by this leak.

Putnam PSD is asking customers to consider filling bottle or 2 for friends & family living in the area covered by Do Not Use warning.

The West Hamlin Volunteer Fire Department has water available for WVAW customers in Lincoln County.

Dr. Michael Castellani with Marshall University tells WSAZ.com the chemical is colorless and there is a faint odor.

Dr. Castellani says if you bath with contaminated water, it will irritate your skin.

He tells WSAZ.com it is also a respiratory irritant if you inhale it.

If you drink the water, Dr. Castenalli says it may have a gas taste.

Lawrence Messina, Communications Director for the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety says WV Legislature will convene Friday, but with skeleton staff. Messina says the legislative manager has advised all other staff to stay home.

We have several crews on the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/9/14 @ 5:45 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is warning residents of possible water contamination after a leak at Freedom Industries in Charleston Thursday morning.

Gov. Tomblin says residents in Boone, Lincoln, Kanawha, Jackson and Putnam counties should not use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing, or bathing. You can use the water for toilets and fire emergencies. Boiling water will not get rid of the chemical.

The Kanawha County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management says this impacts residents who have West Virginia American Water.

According to a news release, the leaked product is 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, which is used in the froth flotation process of coal washing and preparation.

West Virginia American Water believes the material is hazardous, but is not lethal in it's current form.

They say water from St. Albans or Cedar Grove Water is not affected by this leak.

An emergency press conference is scheduled for 5:45 p.m.

We have a crew on the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/9/14 @ 2:15 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Department of Enviornment Protection is monitoring a leak at a business in Charleston that produced a strong smell in the Kanawha Valley.

C.W. Sigman, Kanawha County Emergency Manager, tells WSAZ.com Freedom Industries on Barlow Drive had a tank leak.

According to a news release, the leaked product is 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, which is used in the froth flotation process of coal washing and preparation. The product initially leaked into a containment area, the product then leaked from the containment area into the Elk river. Sigman says the leak has produced a smell described as something similar to liquorice.

Sigman says there is no way to get it out of the water. There is some concern the product could get into the water intake, according to Sigman. Crews are monitoring the situation.

Right now, the DEP continues to work to clean the affected areas.

At this point, it's unclear how much of the product leaked. However, the product safety data sheet does not indicate a toxic level for inhalation. Sigman says the product is dangerous to ingest.

A shelter in place has not been advised, but If people who live in the area would happen to show signs of nausea they are advised to go indoors.

West Virginia American Water says the water quality and water treatment teams are closely monitoring the chemical spill on the Elk River near the Kanawha Valley Water Treatment Plant.

They say water quality experts advise that the incident does not present a health risk to customers. Contaminants that reach the plant's intake site are removed from the water through the plant's multifaceted treatment process, which includes filtration through advanced Granular Activated Carbon filters.

They say water quality experts will continue to monitor the situation closely and remain in direct contact with the WV Department of Environmental Protection and the chemical supplier.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/9/14 @ 11:20 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A strong smell in the Kanawha Valley appears to be coming from a business in Charleston.

C.W. Sigman, Kanawha County Emergency Manager, tells WSAZ.com an odor is coming from a company called Freedom Industries on Barlow Drive.

The smell is from a product called crude, which is used in the coal prep process. Sigman describes the smell as something similar to liquorice.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is on the scene trying to resolve the odor.

Air quality crews are out in the county monitoring how much of the substance is in the air. No other details are being released at this time.

The smell was reported about 10 a.m. and seemed to be concentrated in the areas of Garrison Avenue and the Elk River area near the I-77/I-64 split.

The county has had similar incidents in St. Albans and Chesapeake in the past year. None of the incidents are related.

Firefighters from Charleston and Sissonville helped in Thursday's investigation.

WSAZ.com has contacted the company, but our calls were not returned before publication.

We have a crew at the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 1 9/14 @ 10:45 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Emergency crews are investigating a strong smell in the Kanawha Valley.

C.W. Sigman, Kanawha County Emergency Manager, tells WSAZ.com the smell seems to be concentrated in the areas of Garrison Avenue and the Elk River area near the I-77/I-64 split.

Sigman describes the smell as something similar to liquorice. The smell was reported about 10 a.m. Thursday.

Right now, firefighters in Charleston and Sissonville are out trying to locate where the smell is coming from.

We have a crew on the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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