West Virginia – State Emergency due to Water Contamination
On Thursday, January 9, 2014 Kanawha County residents noticed an odd odor in the air. There had been a chemical leak which affected the river supplying the West Virginia American Water Co. plant. More than 300,000 residents were told to STOP using their contaminated tap water – this means no drinking from the sink, no baths, no showers, no cooking with tap water, and no washing their clothes. Boiling the water before cooking would NOT remove the chemical. People could only flush their toilets with it. As you can imagine, grocery stores and gas stations were overrun with people buying every form of bottled water they could get their hands on.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources warned affected residents that symptoms of ingesting the contaminated water included severe burning in throat, severe eye irritation, non-stop vomiting, trouble breathing or severe skin irritation such as skin blistering. Businesses such as flower shops, restaurants, schools, and hotels closed down until the tap-water ban could be lifted.
It has taken 10 days for the ban to be lifted (January 19th), however people are still going to the hospital with symptoms of drinking the water (nausea & skin rashes). Pregnant women are still advised to seek alternative water sources.
The company responsible for the spill has filed for bankruptcy, little is known about the toxic effects of the chemical (MCHM, used to wash coal) on humans. Although the ban has been lifted, some experts still caution that people should avoid the contaminated tap water.
During the scare in West Virginia, people were frantically rounding up supplies such as bottled water, sanitizer, liquid baby formula, paper & plastic plates and utensils. This event is a good reminder to be prepared. Similar emergencies happen all over the world and people are caught off guard every day. Be sure to be prepared .
By Zane Cope
Zane Cope has real passion for problem solving, even problems as large helping each and every household prepared for disasters. Currently, Zane is the owner and President of WaterPrepared, LLC, the number one residential large-capacity water storage tank. He highly values emergency preparedness and self-reliance and has a mission to help families and individuals become water prepared. Zane resides in Utah with his wife and son.