West Virginia Declares Water Emergency after Chemical Leak Contaminates 1/4 of State’s Water Supply

This is why Preparedness is so important: 480,000 West Virginia residents are being told not to drink tap water after the local water supply was contaminated with dangerous chemicals.

Contaminated Water SupplyAlmost a quarter of West Virginia’s residents have been warned not to drink, cook, or even wash their hands with tap water, after a 48,000-gallon chemical storage tank filled with 4-methylcyclohexene methanol, a chemical used in a coal-washing process, leaked into the local water supply. Officials are warning that the chemical is hazardous and could cause severe burning in the throat, vomiting and skin blistering.

On Thursday evening, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency for nine counties in West Virginia, affecting some 480,000 residents.

“Right now, our priorities are our hospitals, nursing homes and schools,” the governor said. “I’ve been working with our National Guard and Office of Emergency Services in an effort to provide water and supplies through the county emergency services offices as quickly as possible.”

Shortly after, Federal officials declared a State of Emergency, but so far nobody is saying how long it will take before the water supply is safe to use again.

The local water authority, West Virginia American Water, is working with DuPont and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine the level of contamination, but as of yet nobody has come up with a concrete timeline for when the water supply will be restored. In fact, there doesn’t even seem to be a clear plan on how to fix the situation.

Meanwhile, FEMA has dispatched 75 trucks – each carrying 18,500 liters of water – that will start arriving in Charleston early this evening. But with so many people being affected, this will do very little to meet the residents actual needs.

Without a real timeline in place, people are really starting to panic. Residents have stormed grocery stores, gas stations and anywhere selling water, completely depleting the State’s supply of bottled water. If things don’t turn around quickly, the situation could get very ugly.


  1. Kathy j
    January 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Is this situation going to affect other states? Like Tennessee or ky

    • Sgt.Raven
      January 13, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      i want to know what cities was affected and maybe that will tell us if tenn and ky will be effectied

  2. Rich the Dick
    January 10, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Rule of 3’s
    3 minutes or more your DEAD
    3 Days or more NO water your DEAD
    30 Days or more NO food your DEAD

    The Gov has 72 hours to solve this, or YOYO.

    • John Wilson
      January 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      I don’t get the 3 minutes or more you’re dead part

      • Kalith
        January 11, 2014 at 12:11 am

        3 minutes without oxygen

  3. Clifton
    January 10, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    First the tank that holds the chemical is a 48000 gal tank but the current reported worst case scenario is that it lost 5000 gal and that the containment area controlled this.The issue was a leak in the containment so there is no clear amount to what actually got into the river but it is less than 5000 gal. Secondly no this will not effect other states as it isnt concentrated enough to go that far. The CDC says the safe ppb is 5 i believe and that the smell isnt noticable at .5 ppb so as it travels down stream it will blend with the water to the point no one will notice it even being there. The problem here in WV is it spilled less than a mile from the largest water treatment facility intake line and their filters couldn’t take it out so it got into the service lines at a higher than recommended concentration. I t is reported that the chemical isnt fatal but it will make you ill at high concentrations.

    • Azeret
      January 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      While the actual spill may not reach other states, I would think it possible for the run on bottled water to effect states surrounding WV. Were I still living up that way I wouldn’t waste time going nearby to look for water; I’d drive a couple hours out and buy all I could. Thus effecting areas around WV or further out if need be.

    • Billy
      January 11, 2014 at 9:17 am

      No offense Clifton, but I don’t believe anything the government says.

    • Larry Brant
      January 16, 2014 at 8:22 am

      So then what you are saying in your post is that if there is no smell then the chemical is not there sorry to say but just because you can’t smell it it is still there

  4. Ken
    January 10, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    480000 people never thought that this would ever happen. It CAN happen to you!

  5. M.L.
    January 10, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Another problem, they don’t seem to have any answers. There isn’t a timeline, so the public has no idea how long they will be without water. Restaraunts are shut down, schools, hospitals have cancelled all surgical procedures and are diverting trauma to other hospitals. The lawsuits against Freedom Industries have begun to be filed, there is lost income due to all the shutdowns. It’s terrible. One good thing, there are pockets of areas with access to different water supplies and they are providing free water to anyone in need. The city of Hurricane, WV (in Putnam Co.) has two filling stations open offering free water. I know there are other areas doing the same.

    • raandom
      January 11, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      I would have expected that FEMA would have commandeered them by now, For the good of the public.

  6. Crys
    January 10, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    We live about 1.5 hours from this spill , My son works at a grocery store and they are sold out of water , This has put a (bottled) water bread etc. shortage for all areas around the affected area’s People are traveling to get the items they need . Thank god I am somewhat of a prepper (our water system is ok )

  7. angela
    January 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    My water was out two days this week. I was so happy I had some jugs of water. The time an emergency hits is Not the time to worry about stocking up on food and water. We know for a fact we will need it. Please everyone don’t wait for FEMA. They may never come. But if they do you may not want what they have. God bless.

  8. JAS
    January 10, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Even if they get enough bottled water to the area for these folks to drink, that is not going to solve the problem of where to get water for other uses. This is why you need not only to store bottled water, but also have ways of filtering water. You can not run a house on bottled water for any length of time. We have two Sawyer water filter systems and a top of the line Katadyn water filter. We have cases of bottled water for drinking, but our main supply of water will come from our rain collection and area ponds all filtered prior to using. Remember, this could happen to any of us. Most of the effected people did not live near the leak, but got their water from that area.

  9. A
    January 10, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Filtration systems won’t help when it comes to chemicals like that. If they did…there would be no problem because it would be filtered at the water treatment facilities. Just like the radiation that was circling through the USS Ronald Reagan’s water system…

    • JAS
      January 11, 2014 at 11:37 am

      You’re right about that, but if people had filters like the Katadyn they could at least go dip water from another area, melt snow and collect rain water to filter. There is water everywhere in WV that only needs to be filtered and used. When we have a boil water alert in my area, we just hook up our filter and continue life as usual.

  10. mj
    January 10, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    we live in ohio and parts of northeast ohio were either told not to use water, on a boil alert, etc… we have been prepping for about 6 months now and this really hit close to home. My family is much more receptive now to being prepared after this winter storm. hopefully this will wake people up enough to realize an emergency can happen any where and every one should imagine if this is something that happened NATION WIDE!

  11. Cooter davenport
    January 10, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    So when you “wash” coal, this chemical goes away? Turns into gluten free coal? The EPA and obumbler killed coal and wv long ago… Just ask the railroad. This is another scare tactic, run, lil sheep, fast as you can, so says the gingerbread ” man”?

  12. Danielle
    January 11, 2014 at 1:13 am

    You can boil and distill your existing water and make it safe to drink!

    • Ksea
      January 11, 2014 at 8:37 am

      Cyou can’t boil this chemical out. That’s what makes this so difficult. I’m in WV in the affected area.

    • mike
      January 11, 2014 at 8:59 am

      But possessing an unregistered still is a federal offense! yay government!

  13. Larry
    January 11, 2014 at 7:41 am

    This just smells like another False Flag event, With all the Plant Explosions,Train Derailments, etc.There is a lot here that doesn’t make sense. I’m not saying this wasn’t a real accident.But there are Far to many incidents in this Country last couple of years, Think about the way EPA has been Attacking the Coal Industry in this Country, You watch! They will outlaw this chemical used to clean coal,Obama said he would Bankrupt the Coal industry. Remember! Don’t let a Good Crisis go to waist.

  14. maverick1490
    January 11, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Collect rain water in large drums, have a Berkey filter, and cheap/non-scented bleach. @8 drops/quart of filtered water. Shake it well for @ 1 min.,then let sit for 30-60 mins. and ur good 2 go.

  15. old soldier
    January 11, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Another good example of why a person should prepare. The problem is alot of people can’t see past today. When something like this happens, they panic. Regarding whether this is a false flag or not: it’s what people perceive that counts, not always reality. If this event is for real…it could get ugly.

    • random
      January 11, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      If FEMA and their thugs take charge, you can count on it getting ugly.

  16. JAS
    January 12, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I have been doing a lot of contemplating since this disaster. In this case they know that the chemical just polluted one river, but if TSHTF big time, how many chemicals like this are going to wind up leaking into the bodies of water. I don’t care where you live, there are big storage tanks of every kind of chemical imaginable. While I have stored water and both Sawyer and Katadyn filter systems, there are just to many chemicals that can not be filtered out. You will not be able to store enough water for a very long duration and also would not know if your filter was taking care of everything. The only way to get this out of your water would be to distill the water. I think it is time to start working on a small still to be used to provide water if things get really bad.

    • Henry
      January 12, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      distill the water gets all chemicals out.

  17. old soldier
    January 13, 2014 at 9:59 am

    I’ve been watching the news on this thing. There is no more than 1 min of coverage. I get the impression people think this is not serious.

  18. JAHLWV
    January 15, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    MOVE TO CANADA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GET EAT UP BY BEARS

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