Chemical Leak in Water Causes 9 WV Counties 'Do Not Drink Alert' - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

NEW: Officials work to resolve contaminated water, 9 WV counties still under State of Emergency

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WVSP at Wal-mart in Southridge. WVSP at Wal-mart in Southridge.
Empty shelves at Kroger. Empty shelves at Kroger.

UPDATE:

Kanawha County Emergency Officials, in working with West Virginia American Water and the National Guard, have obtained water buffalos and water tankers to assist with the distribution of water to Kanawha County residents.

Citizens will need to take their own containers, such as plastic bottles, jugs or pitches, to the sites to obtain the water.

(Click to view slideshow of Photos surrounding State of Emergency)

Crossings Mall in Elkview and Riverside High School both have tankers available and additional locations will be set up within the next hour.

The South Charleston Recreation Center has opened as a water distribution center.  Please bring your own containers to the site.

The Charleston Fire Department at Morris Street is distributing water as well.

(NATIONAL COVERAGE: CBS Morning News covers chemical leak)

Officials also are still trying to obtain bottled water for other distribution centers throughout the county, but if any elderly, disabled or ill residents need help accessing water, they should call the Kanawha County Emergency Operations Center at 304-746-8828.

West Virginia State University will be a distribution center until 6 p.m.

Kanawha officials stress they will not deliver water to homes unless there is a serious medical issue, so if someone has a way to get to a water distribution center, they should.

In response to the water emergency in Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Lincoln, Logan, Kanawha, Putnam and Roane counties Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said residents should make his office aware of any price gouging.

"It is illegal for any person or entity to inflate the price of water in times of emergency," said Morrisey.  For more on reporting price gauging, click here.

For a complete listing of water filling stations, click here.

We will also keep you updated on Facebook and Twitter.

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UPDATE:

Pullman Plaza Hotel in Huntington, WV is opening three or four rooms to the public for showering.  They ask that people bring their own towels and bathroom items.

The showers are free but donations are welcome.  The hotel will also open its restaurants on Saturday, Jan. 11.

West Virginia American Water Spokeswoman Laura Jordan said a scientist with DuPont indicated that the chemical was still leaching, which means it's seeping from the bank to the river. More samples will be tested at DuPont at 8 a.m. Jan. 10, along with side-by-side comparisons of the water.

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UPDATE:

C. W. Sigman, Kanawha County's deputy emergency management director, said the county is focusing right now to figure out how to keep hospitals and trauma centers running.

Sigman said based on the data he has, the chemical is "not particularly toxic, but you don't want to drink it or have it on your body." Sigman said it's diluted by the time it gets to the plant, but it's still not safe and that can depend on the concentration levels.

Officials stressed that hospitals and nursing homes will be the first priority.

In Putnam County, OES Director Frank Champan said just before 7 a.m. Jan. 10 the county was still waiting on its shipment of water from the state, but distribution sites had been planned from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at both the Hurricane Walmart in the back parking lot and the Hurricane Fire Department. People will need to bring their own containers to fill, and there will be a 20-gallon limit per person.

Chapman said more distribution sites could be added throughout the county once the water is received. 

A news release from The White House Office of the Press Secretary just after 7 a.m. Jan. 10 stated President Obama signed a West Virginia Emergency Declaration, which authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. The news release states FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide at its discretion equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. The emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.

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UPDATE:

West Virginia American Water Spokesperson Laura Jordan said just after 5 a.m. Jan. 10 the company does not have conclusive results yet from any water quality testing.

Jordan said there is no way to treat water at this point, and the chemicals need to be eliminated through systematic flushing. As of 5:30 a.m. Jan. 10, Jordan said the flushing process had not yet begun, and the water was still being tested and there is no timeline yet to estimate when the water will be safe.

The company's president said just after 6 a.m. Jan. 10 West Virginia American Water attempted to treat the contamination itself between 1 and 4 p.m. Jan. 9 when the leak was detected, but the system became overwhelmed after that.

A report from Charleston Area Medical Center also indicated Friday morning its emergency room had treated approximately five people who reported symptoms of water contamination related to the chemical spill.

Medical professionals have indicated those people will be fine, but were warned to look out for nausea, skin and eye irritation and vomiting and hospital personnel will keep a close eye on them for the next 24 hours as well.

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UPDATE:

According to Greg Lay, Director of Emergency Management of Boone County, water will be brought to the County Maintenance Garage, located at 36 Avenue B. in Mason County, sometime Friday and will then be first taken to hospitals and nursing homes, and will then be taken to all the fire departments and community centers throughout Boone County to be distributed.

Also, the Culloden Volunteer Fire Department in Cabell County is giving out bottled water, and will have a second shipment of water that is scheduled to arrive at 12 p.m. Friday.  People who come then to get water are being asked to bring their own containers.  

According to the Kanawha County Commission, public distribution points in Kanawha County are supposed to be announced early Friday, Jan. 10.

For a complete listing of water filling stations, click here.

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UPDATE:

According to a spokesman for Military Affairs and Public Safety, FEMA will be delivering water to the Charleston Air National Guard Base sometime Friday morning. It will then be distributed to the county emergency services offices and those agencies will distribute water to those communities affected.

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UPDATE:

According to the CAMC Health System Twitter page, all scheduled procedures for Friday at CAMC General, Memorial, and Women and Children's Hospital are canceled.  Also, they say they have not had to move any patients, but are on trauma diversion.

CAMC is saying that outpatient imaging procedures and appointments will take place as well as the WCH Infusion Center.

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UPDATE:

There are several water filling stations available.  They include:

Duval Volunteer Fire Department in Griffithsville, WV is giving out bottled water.  They are limiting it to one per family as there are a lot of people affected.

Saint Marks Episcopal Church, at 405 B Street in Saint Albans, which will have a filling station until 10:30 p.m.

(Click to view slideshow of Photos surrounding State of Emergency)

The West Hamlin Volunteer Fire Department in Lincoln County is also being used a water filling station. People are being asked to bring their own containers.

According to Chief Robert Stickler of the Hamlin Volunteer Fire Department in Lincoln County, they will be giving out one case of water to each household that arrives at their station, and will be open 24 hours a day until the emergency is lifted.  Chief Stickley says that each household must show that they live in the affected areas.

The Crossing Baptist Church, in the area of Harrison Avenue, in St. Albans is remaining open so that people can come and get water.

Both the Bartlett-Chapman Funeral Home in St. Albans, and the Chapman Funeral Home in Hurricane will be open at 7 a.m. Friday, Jan. 10, for people who need water.  People are being asked to bring their own containers.

We will also keep you updated on Facebook and Twitter.

A list of water filling or distribution centers can be found here.

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UPDATE:

According to a news release from the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, Chief Justice Robin Jean Davis has ordered the Administrative Office and Chief Counsel's Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia to be closed on Friday, January 10, due to a water emergency. Employees in those offices have been asked not to report to work.

However, the Supreme Court Clerk's Office will be open on Friday to accept filings.

The news release says the Chief Circuit Judge in each affected county must decide whether to close courts in that county.  The Twenty-Fifth Judicial Circuit Judge Jay M. Hoke has closed courts in Boone and Lincoln Counties for Friday, January 10.

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UPDATE:

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued a State of Emergency for Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam and Roane counties.

According to the Boone County Health Department, they are trying to close all restaurants, and essentially anyplace that uses water, and are stressing that people should not use the water.  

According to The Kanawha Charleston Animal Shelter, they are collecting donations of water for the animals housed at the shelter. They will begin collecting water Friday morning at 9 a.m.

The Kanawha County Commission says that the Kanawha County Courthouse Complex will be open tomorrow, Jan. 10. 

We will also keep you updated on Facebook and Twitter.

A list of water filling or distribution centers can be found here.

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UPDATE:

According to the authority of WVAWC, you can use water if you have St. Albans Water, City of Cedar Grove Water, Montgomery/Kanawha Fayette Water, East Bank City Water or Putnam PSD, as they are not affected.

An updated list of counties was released by the WV DHHR and those are Kanawha, Boone, Putnam, Jackson and Lincoln counties.  This is only for customers of West Virginia American Water.

The WV DHHR also updated symptoms: severe burning in throat, severe eye irritation, non-stop vomiting, trouble breathing or severe skin irritation such as skin blistering.

Schools in Clay, Kanawha, Lincoln and Putnam will be closed on Jan. 10.

Saint Marks Episcopal Church at 405 B Street in Saint Albans will have a filling station until 10:30 p.m.  The West Hamlin Volunteer Fire Department in Lincoln County is also being used a water filling station.  People are being asked to bring their own containers.  The Crossing Baptist Church, in the area of Harrison Avenue, in St. Albans is remaining open so that people can come and get water.  Both the Bartlett-Chapman Funeral Home in St. Albans, and the Chapman Funeral Home in Hurricane will be open at 7 a.m. Friday, Jan. 10, for people who need water.  

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UPDATE:

According to West Virginia American Water, due to a chemical leak of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol that went into the Elk River Thursday, a Do Not Use Water order has been issued for the counties of Boone, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam, and Roane in WV.  Only the Bomont and Queen Shoals areas of Clay County is affected, as well as the area of Culloden in Cabell County.

Residents living in these counties who use West Virginia American Water are being asked to not use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing, doing laundry, or bathing until further notice.

This only affects customers who use West Virginia American Water in these counties.  Customers in St. Albans and Cedar Grove are not affected by this. Putnam PSD customers are not affected.

However, the Lincoln County Public Service District says customers are being asked to not drink or use any water in the areas from Breedlover Road on Route 214 back towards Hamlin on Route 3 until further notice.  They say that boiling water will not help.

It is believed that the material may be hazardous and may have entered the water system.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has declared a State of Emergency.

A spokesperson for West Virginia American Water says if you come into contact with the water and feel ill, call the Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.  Public health officials say symptoms would include nausea, vomiting, burning sensation, and severe eye irritation.

Keep checking wowktv.com for all the latest updates.

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UPDATE:

West Virginia American Water released a statement on the chemical spill in Charleston, WV.

According to the release, the treatment facility's process is effective enough to remove contaminants but water quality experts are monitoring the process and will be in contact with the DEP and chemical supplier.

The water quality experts say the contaminates do not pose a health risk to the public.

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ORIGINAL:

A chemical leak at Freedom Industries in Charleston, WV has crews working to clean up the non-toxic chemical. 

According to a release from the Kanawha County Emergency Management Office, a chemical named 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, that is used in coal washing and preparation, leaked from a containment area into the Elk River.

Work crews and the DEP are working to clean the area.  The chemical is considered non-toxic.

Residents in the area should go inside if they experience any signs of nausea.