Last Friday, approximately 300,000 residents of West Virginia awoke to unsafe tap water. Unsafe for daily functions, residents were unable to execute certain activities which include brushing teeth, showering, brewing coffee, and plenty more. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin took control and banned on drinking, cooking, and bathing with tap water in Charleston, and the nine surrounding counties. Anxious and upset, residents and businesses demanded a solution. Due to the contaminated waters, schools and restaurants were closed. At that at hand, the supply of bottled water was began scare. Shipments of bottled water were quickly imported due to the high demand on water.
What caused the contamination was a leak from a broken storage tank in a factory, which contained about 5,000 gallons of an industrial chemical, which was used in coal processing. It then poured in the Elk River and was taken in by nearby pipes by regional water company. The chemical which leaked into the pipes is known as MCHM, or 4-methylcyclohexane methanol. Not completely knowledgeable of the danger of the chemical, authorities just knew that the contaminated water must be flushed from the system. Unable to determine how long it will take, they must flush the entire system. It has been reported that the chemical smells like licorice and can cause headaches, eye and skin irritation, and difficulty breathing.
President Obama took action and demanded a federal emergency regarding the Southern District of West Virginia. He stated “other federal law enforcement authorities have opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the release.” They are dedicated and determined to discover the culprit of the incident. Freedom Industries, responsible of the leaked chemical, was issued a violation by the state Department of Environmental Protection. They were ordered to empty out all tanks on the site and the chemicals must be moved off the site because they accused for releasing MCHM into the air.