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W.Va. chemical spill declared federal disaster

Updated: Friday, January 10 2014, 03:27 PM EST

By: The Associated Press
CHARLESTON, W.Va. --

 

The White House has issued a federal disaster declaration in West Virginia, where a chemical spill that may have contaminated tap water has prompted officials to tell residents in nine counties not to bathe, brush their teeth or wash their clothes.

 

Bill Hines, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, says the declaration made overnight allows for direct federal assistance in dealing with the spill.

 

For nine West Virginia counties, Friday promises to be a challenging day as residents struggled to carry on under a state of emergency the day after a chemical spill in the Elk River in the capital of Charleston.

 

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared the emergency Thursday after the spill inundated the river and a nearby water treatment plant.

 

The chemical, a foaming agent used in the coal preparation process, leaked from a tank at Freedom Industries, overran a containment area and went into the river.

 

Tomblin has ordered customers of West Virginia American Water to use their tap water only for flushing toilets. No bathing, cooking, or washing -- either of hands or clothes.

 

Officials say they're still trying to determine the extent of any possible contamination from the spill.

 

 

 

W.Va. chemical spill declared federal disaster


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