January 10, 2014
A federal disaster declaration has been issued for a West Virginia chemical spill that may have contaminated tap water and prompted officials to order residents in nine counties not to bathe, brush their teeth or wash their clothes.
The declaration, made overnight, allows for direct federal assistance in dealing with the spill, Bill Hines of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said early Friday. It remained unclear how much of the chemical spilled into the river and at what concentration, or how long the advisory would last.
The federal move came shortly after Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency Thursday when the spill from Freedom Industries hit a river and a nearby water treatment plant.