A chemical spill has put much of West Virginia in a state of emergency. Because the chemicals have leaked into ground water, a water ban has been issued for the state. Over 300,000 people in the area are without water and many businesses and schools have closed as a result of the spill and the tap water ban.
President Obama issued an emergency declaration for the state of West Virginia on Friday and ordered federal aid to assist with the cleanup and aftermath of the spill. The spill happened on Thursday on the Elk River where 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol was leaked into the water.
“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.”
While businesses may not be a priority, business owners are losing money everyday that the ban is in effect. Not only are the locals not visiting their favorite restaurants and stores, but travelers and visitors are staying out of West Virginia for the time being as well. Nine counties have been affected by the chemical spill and water companies are saying it could still be days before it is safe to use tap water again.
FEMA has delivered several trucks of water to the area but many people are unable to haul enough water to their homes to use as needed. Business owners weren’t the only ones frustrated by the closings. Many West Virginia residents who are unable to cook were depending on restaurants for meals.
“I haven’t been able to cook anything at home and was hoping they were open,” Bill Rogers, 52, said outside a closed Tudor’s Biscuit World.
The National Guard has said that they will need a 24-hour period where water samples are below 1 part per million before they can lift the tap water ban and allow West Virginia residents to use their water again.
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