Health officials are warning the residents in nine counties in West Virginia to avoid drinking, bathing or cooking with tap water after a chemical spill.
The West Virginia state government is rushing supplies of bottled water to the affected areas. Getting water supplies to schools, hospitals and nursing homes in West Virginia is a priority for state officials. Meanwhile, some residents say that West Virginia stores are quickly running out of bottled water stocks. A police officer was stationed at one local Kroger (KR) supermarket to ensure that bottled water sales were orderly, Reuters notes.
On Thursday, a storage unit at a speciality chemicals producer was discovered to be leaking 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, which can be toxic if swallowed. The chemical can also cause skin and eye problems. The incident happened north of the Kanawha Valley water treatment plant. About 300,000 West Virginian residents receive water treated at the facility.
A state of emergency was declared in the state of West Virginia on Friday by U.S. President Barack Obama. The declaration means that West Virginia will receive federal assistance to help handle the spill.