W. Virginia chemical spill leads to state of emergency

Updated: 2014-01-10 17:37


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WASHINGTON - A chemical spill into a local river on Thursday prompted a state of emergency and water ban in the US state of West Virginia.

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency in nine counties in his state, because of a chemical spill into the Elk River in Charleston, the state's capital.

The declaration followed a notice from West Virginia American Water Company that its water supply had become contaminated.

"West Virginians in the affected service areas are urged not to use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing," Tomblin said in a statement.

"Right now, our priorities are our hospitals, nursing homes, and schools," the governor added.

He said he has sought to work with the National Guard and Office of Emergency Services to provide water and supplies through the county emergency services offices as quickly as possible.

The incident is believed to impact 100,000 customers, NBC-affiliated local news channel WSAZ reported.

The chemical was leaked from a tank at Freedom Industries in Charleston and the leaked product is 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, which is used in the froth flotation process of coal washing and preparation, according to WSAZ.