Last week, a chemical company poisoned a major West Virginia water supply so thoroughly that FEMA has been dispatched to clean things up.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has dispatched FEMA to assist West Virginia's clean-up of Freedom Industries' toxic chemical spill on Thursday, by which the specialty chemical-producer released 5,000 gallons (think: an above-ground swimming pool) of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol into the Kanawha Valley's water treatment intake near Charleston. West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a statewide disaster late last week, mobilizing the National Guard to distribute bottled water throughout the afflicted areas. Supermarket shelves are, for the part, dry.
The spill affects 100,000 households—about 300,000 residents—according to the West Virginia American Water Company.
Above, a recap video about the crisis produced by the Charleston Daily Mail summarizes the emergency response to date. Meanwhile, Freedom Industries President Gary Southern has been sweat-lipped about his company's role in the spill and the timeline of precipitating events.
Authorities warn that the licorice-scented contamination of tap water, though colorless, poses health risks if drank or inhaled in concentrated quantities. According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, symptoms include skin irritation, drowsiness, prolonged vomiting, and breathing difficulties.
Boiling the tap water will not neutralize the chemical hazard.