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UPDATE: Hundreds are Sick after West Virgina Water Pollution

Posted by feww on January 11, 2014

This post will probably be filtered or blocked by Google.

Some 737 people have reported sickness, many hospitalized after chemical leak in Charleston

The White House has declared a Federal  State of Emergency and sent disaster aid to West Virginia.

  • Some 300,000 people in West Virginia enduring a second night unable drink tap water, bathe, shower or cook, after what is said to be a chemical spill into the Elk River in Charleston, WV.
  • Tap Water Ban has been issued for customers in Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam and Roane counties.
  • As of Friday evening, 737 people had called the West Virginia Poison Center to report symptoms related to poisoning, according to Director Elizabeth Scharman, Reuters reported.
  • The reported symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, rashes and/or reddened skin – “varying from very mild to much more bothersome,” said Scharman.
  • An Indefinite ban on water tap has left 300,000 people without water in nine counties after a chemical spill into the Elk River in West Virginia.
  • Schools, restaurants and businesses have been ordered closed.
  • Governor Tomblin has declared a State of Emergency for nine counties in West Virginia following what is said to be a major spill of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, a chemical used to wash coal, along the Elk River in Charleston.
  • Between 5,000 and 35,000 gallons of the chemical may have leaked into the river, according to reports.
  • Tomblin has urged the residents NOT to use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing.
  • “West Virginians in the affected service areas are urged NOT to use tap water for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing. Right now, our priorities are our hospitals, nursing homes, and schools,” said Gov. Tomblin in a statement.
  • “I do not know how long this will last,” said Tomblin.

Quote of the Week:  “We don’t know that the water’s not safe, but I can’t say it is safe,” said Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water Co, the state’s largest water treatment plant.

Official Messages (Continued…)

01-10-14 @ 7:45PM

For assistance locating a water distribution point in your county, please contact your local emergency management office.

  • Boone County – 304 369-9913
  • Cabell County – 304 743-5391
  • Clay County – 304 587-2019
  • Jackson County – 304 373-2208 or 304 372-2000
  • Kanawha County – 304 744-6843
  • Lincoln County – 304 824-3443
  • Logan County – 304 752-7662 or 304 752-8817 or Sharples VFD 304-369-2630
  • Putnam County – 304 586-0246
  • Roane County – 304 927-0911

01-10-14 @ 7:30PM

West Virginia American Water issued a DO NOT USE WATER NOTICE for all West Virginia American Water customers in Kanawha, Boone, Putnam, Lincoln, Logan, Clay, Roane and Jackson counties, as well as customers in Culloden in Cabell County.  All other WVAW customers in Cabell County are NOT affected, as they receive their water from the Huntington Water Treatment Plant.  Customers who are served by the City of Hurricane, St. Albans, Putnam PSD, Montgomery and Cedar Grove/East Bank are NOT affected.

Please Note: West Virginia American Water is NOT shutting off water to any customers as a result of the “do not use” order currently in place in the Kanawha Valley system.

01-10-14 @ 4PM

During afternoon press conference

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin this afternoon provided an update regarding the State of Emergency still in effect for parts of Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam, and Roane Counties.

“We encourage all individuals to determine whether their home or business is in the affected service areas.  One indicator of the contaminated water is the odor of the water.  We urge all residents in the affected areas to follow West Virginia American Water Company’s “do not use” order until it is lifted.  This includes water companies supplied by West Virginia American Water in this area. If you live in one of these areas, do not use tap water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, washing, or bathing.  At this time, I do not know how long this will last.

“We ask that all West Virginian’s check on their friends, families, and neighbors—especially those with small children and seniors living in their households—to make sure they have enough water, food, and supplies. If you—or anyone you know–experiences symptoms including: nausea, vomiting, dizziness, irritation of the eyes and skin, seek care immediately.

“Yesterday my DEP ordered the company storing the chemical … to take immediate action and stop additional flows of the chemical into the Elk River.  This discharge of pollutants is unacceptable. I spoke with the president of West Virginian American Water and the COO of American Water, the parent company.  I’ve also spoken with the Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary Johnson.  They have pledged their full support and assistance.

“I’ve mobilized and deployed all appropriate government assets and resources, including our Office of Emergency Management, our experts at DEP, DHHR Bureau of Public Health along with our National Guard—who are out doing health and wellness checks across the area along with collecting, testing and monitoring the water. The federal government is also providing assistance. The President has approved my request to issue a federal emergency declaration to provide FEMA resources.  County emergency offices are also working 24-7.

“Until we receive an “all-clear,” we are focusing efforts on helping the most vulnerable in hospitals and nursing homes. We have asked the DHHR Bureau for Public Health, Senior Services, and WVNG to develop a long-term plan to help ensure adequate supplies of water and food is available.

“If you are low on bottled water, do not panic.  Help is on the way.  We are taking every measure to provide water to you. There is no shortage of bottled water.  Supplies are moving into the area as we speak.  We encourage all West Virginians in affected areas to contact their local emergency management office for water distribution sites.

“If you or your organization would like to donate supplies, please contact your local emergency center.  If you are in the Kanawha Valley Area, we are organizing a call to action drive for needed items—including water, sanitizer, wipes, liquid baby formula, paper plates, plastic utensils, and microwavable meals.  The drive will take place on the Boulevard in front of the State Capitol from 2:30 – 6:30 today. It is important to emphasize, water and supplies are available—there is not a persistent shortage of bottled water.

“We are grateful for the offers of support from private firms and charities—and our fellow West Virginians—to aid in providing relief.

“I will direct my general counsel, and my Director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, General Hoyer to begin reviewing our emergency response to this incident. They reviewed both the response to the Derecho and Hurricane Sandy.  We learned a lot from those disasters.  Our past reviews have prepared us well for this situation.  We can learn a lot from this particular incident.”

01-10-14 @ 10:25AM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today issued the following statement regarding the current State of Emergency in Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam, and Roane counties.

The State of Emergency remains in the affected counties.  The Governor dispatched the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to Freedom Industries yesterday, ordering it to halt further leaching of the particular chemical into the river.

Our emergency response team has worked to develop a testing protocol and a sampling plan on the chemical at issue.  Initial samples have been taken, and additional sampling and testing will continue throughout the situation.

The sampling plan is a coordinated effort with West Virginia American Water Company and the state Bureau of Public Health, and our emergency responders. This process will take time, but we continue to work quickly to provide information related to the ability to lift the “do not use” ordered by West Virginia American Water Company.

Also overnight, water supplies have been relocated and have begun to be distributed to affected areas. Please call your local emergency service office to locate the closest distribution point for your area.  Continue to refrain from using the water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing and washing. Do not boil this water or use it to supply oxygen machines.

Our efforts will continue until we have a resolution. Our main focus continues to center around our hospitals, nursing homes and those most vulnerable.  I will continue to keep our citizens updated as we gather additional information.

Developing story …

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