(01/10/2014)
7 PM THURSDAY - West Virginia American Water customers in an 8-county area are being advised not to drink, cook, or bathe, or even boil their water after the company's water supply was contaminated by a chemical leak early Thursday in the Elk River.

The warning applied to West Virginia American Water customers in Kanawha, Putnam, Jackson, Clay, Lincoln, Logan, Roane, and Boone counties.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has declared a state of emergency with 100,000 customers affected, and water supplies in stores already being depleted.

Water supplies are being ordered for the region.

The chemical leak happened Thursday morning at Freedom Industries along the Elk River.

Water can only be used to flush toilets and put out fires.

Spencer Mayor Terry Williams said all of Spencer area customers gets water from Charles Fork Lake, and is not affected.

"Spencer's water customers are safe," Williams told the Hur Herald Thursday night.

Williams said he had yet to learn why Roane was on the alert, other than customers in the Newton, Geary District area are served by WV Water from the Elk River.

It was not clear if water customers on US 119 out of Clendenin toward Roane County are included, but if they get their water from the Elk River, the notice applies.

"We've received over 50 calls about the alert on TV to not drink or use the water in Roane," said Williams.

Customers served by Clay-Roane PSD should abide by the no drink, no use alert.

Clay County Schools, and other schools in the contaminated areas, are closed Friday.

The spill happened along the Elk River at Freedom Industries, the leaked product is 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, which is used in the froth flotation process of coal washing and preparation.

Homeland Security says if you feel sick, seek medical attention at a local hospital or call poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222. You can also call the Emergency Operations Center at 304-746-8828.


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