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Published on Jan 10, 2014

Thousands of gallons of dangerous chemicals have been leaking from a facility managed by Freedom Industries in Charleston, West Virginia, and hundreds of thousands of people in the vicinity are being impacted as a result. The governor has declared a state of emergency in nine counties there, and federal agencies have since been dispatched to help make sense of the accident. RT’s Meghan Lopez reports live from West Virginia to weigh in on the status of the chemical leak hours after it was first discovered.

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Chemical leak threatens 100,000 in West Virginia


A family shops for bottled water at a supermarket, as many in West Virginia are doing after a chemical spill in the Elk River.


West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency in several West Virginia counties Jan. 9, after a chemical leak contaminated the drinking water supply for about 100,000 in the Charleston area. West Virginia American Water was notified that a chemical used in coal mining had leaked into the Elk River upstream from its main water intake. The water supply feed all or parts of nine West Virginia counties.

The Charleston Daily Mail reports that county officials began tracking a strong licorice smell early Thursday morning. It was traced to a facility owned by Freedom Industries, the Etowah River Terminal. A storage tank was leaking and the containment system around the tank failed to hold the chemical. It leaked into the Elk River, the source of drinking water for many West Virginians. The Daily Mail says that the leak was stopped about two hours after it was discovered.


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