Obama declares emergency for W.Va. after chemical spill taints water

Thousands of West Virginians were warned not to drink or use tap water, after a foaming agent leaked into Elk River in Charleston.

The chemical spill contaminated the public water supply for roughly 300,000 people across nine counties. President Obama declared a state of emergency for the region early Friday morning.


"Do not drink it. Do not cook with it. Do not wash clothes in it. Do not take a bath in it," West Virginia Governor Earl Tomlin said.

"For safety, we would ask everyone — this includes restaurants, hospitals, any institutions out there — please do not use any tap water if you're a customer of West Virginia American Water."

Air quality officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection discovered the spill, which the company Freedom Industries did not self-report, The Charleston Gazette reported.

The Associated Press reports on Friday federal officials are opening a probe into the chemical spill.