Are You Prepared for a Water Emergency? Deadly Chemical in West Virginia Water Supply Creates Immediate Shortage

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Here is a reason to store water that even non-preppers will find pertinent:  more than half a million people in West Virginia are unable to use their tap water for drinking, cooking, bathing or cleaning due to a chemical spill near a water treatment plant. Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple reported:

Up to 300,000 people in West Virginia have been banned from using tap water after a chemical spill in a river, which has also forced schools, bars and restaurants to close.

The state’s governor has declared a state of emergency in nine counties following the industrial leak. The ban has lead to long lines for bottled water and locals are reporting that stores are running dry, and people are fighting over the bottles that are available.

Residents in a growing number of affected areas have been told not to drink, wash or cook with the tap water and only use it for flushing toilets.

Laura Jordan, external affairs manager for West Virginia American Water, said: “It could be potentially harmful if swallowed and could potentially cause skin and eye irritation.”

The spill of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, a chemical used in the coal industry, into the Elk River happened above a water treatment plant in Charleston – the largest in West Virginia – and affects 100,000 homes and businesses. (source)

The spill is said to have originated from Freedom Industries, which produces “freeze conditioning agents, dust control palliatives, flotation reagents [and] water treatment polymers,” among other chemicals, according to the company website.

The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) on 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol contains alarming warnings about the chemical that has seeped into the water supply, among them, the following:

Move out of dangerous area. Show this material safety data sheet to the doctor in attendance. Symptoms of poisoning may only appear several hours later. Do not leave the victim unattended.

If inhaled : Move to fresh air. If unconscious place in recovery position and seek medical advice. If symptoms persist, call a physician.

In case of skin contact : If skin irritation persists, call a physician. If on skin, rinse well with water. If on clothes, remove clothes.

In case of eye contact : Immediately flush eye(s) with plenty of water. Remove contact lenses. Protect unharmed eye. Keep eye wide open while rinsing. If eye irritation persists, consult a specialist.

If swallowed : Keep respiratory tract clear. Do NOT induce vomiting. Do not give milk or alcoholic beverages. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Take victim immediately to hospital. (source)

Those who haven’t stored water for drinking and hygiene purposes are now at the stores, scrapping it out over a few limited jugs of water. Water has quickly run out. No one knows how long the disaster will affect municipal water supplies, and unprepared residents are now at the mercy of FEMA. Many businesses are closed due to the crisis.

House of Delegates spokeswoman Stacey Ruckle said the House wouldn’t conduct any business today, and would reconvene at 1 p.m. Monday.

Staff members at Thomas Memorial and Saint Francis hospitals were told not to use water except for flushing the toilets, spokeswoman Paige Johnson said Thursday.

The hospitals have some bottled water on hand and they’re getting more, Johnson said.

She didn’t know of any patients coming to the hospital complaining of problems associated with drinking the contaminated water.

CAMC has canceled all procedures for today, officials said.

Meadowbrook Acres Nursing Center, a 60-bed nursing home in Charleston, was prepared, said administrator Kim Toney.

“We keep a three-day emergency supply, so we should be fine,” Toney said. “We’re planning for more but we’ve got enough to last until we can get more water in here.”

At the Charleston Town Center Mall, marketing director Lisa Mc Cracken said Thursday evening, “We’ve closed our restaurants and we closed our treateries. We’ve turned off all the public restroom faucets, and we have issued an advisory mall-wide to the tenants, telling them not to use the faucets in their establishments.”

Crystal Del Giudice, a supervisor at the Starbucks coffee shop in the mall, said employees ran out to buy hand sanitizer so they could clean themselves up after they closed the store.

“It’s like the apocalypse,” she said, half-jokingly.

Several mall restaurants had signs posted, informing customers that they were closed because of the water emergency.

At the Kroger in Kanawha City, shelves in the bottled-water aisle were nearly bare. A Charleston police officer kept an eye on the crowd.

Kerstin Halstead of Campbells Creek was doing her regular shopping when her husband called and told her to buy water.

“People have been grabbing it like crazy,” she said as she loaded two cases of bottled water into her SUV, “and some people were getting — well, they could have shared more.”

The East End Rite-Aid ran out of water just after 6:30 p.m., according to a store employee. Customers were buying ice instead.

Ruby Piscopo, 28, of Charleston, and Christi Pritt, 29, of Belle, were having an after-work drink when they heard about the chemical leak. “We started getting texts and changed the TV to the news,” Piscopo said. “I wasn’t concerned until someone said it could go on for days.”

The two bought $30 worth of water between them. They had other friends buying water throughout the city, with the intention of splitting it up later. (source)

Many people worry about the unstable electrical grid, and the effects that this would have on life as we know it.  However, what will cause death and illness even faster is a threat to the water supply. If you do not have a well, a nearby spring or fresh water source, and ways to filter the water, you could be in big trouble – life-threatening trouble – in a matter of days.

Our municipal water supply is a threat even without the chemical spills. 18 unregulated chemicals have been found in supplies across the country, and deliberately added chemicals can cause serious long-term health concerns.

If you don’t have at least a one-month supply of fresh pure drinking water properly stored, along with plans for long-term water sources, let this industrial accident be a wake-up call.  An epic disaster doesn’t have to be a dramatic, end-of-the-world scenario.  This should serve as a cautionary tale to those who are blithely unprepared.

If you don’t want to be at the tender mercies of FEMA and the government for your survival, get prepared. A full month’s supply of drinking water for a family of 4 is approximately $150, give or take a little, depending on the prices in your area. As well, fill empty containers with tap water that can be safely used for pets, for flushing, and for cleaning and hygiene purposes. This is a small investment to make for your family’s security and well-being in the event of an emergency. You don’t want to be one of the people standing in line for whatever the government chooses to dole out to you.

Declare your independence by getting prepared for a water emergency. If you never buy a single canned good or bag of pasta for long term food storage, please store water. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to see the good sense in being prepared for an event that could happen any place, at any time.

Thank you to David for alerting me to this event – our thoughts are with you!

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Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • This is a perfect example of why we should prep. The water was gone off the shelves within a few hours of the announcement. People will now be lining up at FEMA stations, hoping to get a bottle or two. They can’t drink it, wash with it or clean their cooking utensils. I hope this is over before the reality of the situation really sets in. They are already having death threats against the company works where the spill originated. They say only use the water to flush the toilet with, but every time you flush water mist enters the room. Looking at the risks from breathing it, I am not sure I would want to flush my toilet with it. Keep prepping.

  • Brilliant!!! A toxic chemical plant located immediately upstream from a water treatment plant supplying drinking water to thousands of homes in West Virginia, USA. The only countries that allow insane conditions like this to exist are 3rd world countries bought and paid-for by mega-corporations.

    • yeah it is obviously a terrible infrastructure plan that is the legacy of the slackness of the last century. Once we really become ashamed and disasociate ourselves from that legacy of political vampirism upon the nation, it will be better planning. We have to learn to hate the failures of the past.

  • This is why I have 300 gallons of water and a silver impregnated gravity fed micron filter on hand at all times…best of luck to all affected.

  • There will be a lot more folks awake in WV and prepping after this one for sure. I have a 275gal Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC-cost me $75) in my garage that my reverse osmosis unit dumps into. If our bodies are 60+% water, why not have the cleanest every day?

    My post here though is that death threats and otherwise going off half cocked isn’t a historic American trait.

    Look at the other major use this chemical other than washing coal.

    It is patented as an air freshener.

    It’s density is lower than water. Also, Wiki says its solubility in water is low. Essentially, the spill is going to float and evaporate.

    This spill isn’t a Fukushima, though with coal gen plants being taken off line daily the pressure to build nukes might increase. Yes … and I don’t live near Browns Ferry or Y-12/Watts Bar just for that reason. (Browns Ferry is a duplicate of Fukushima with all its years of spent fuel stored upstairs above the reactor. Want to bet how it would fare in a New Madrid replay? Not this boy.)

    I am just an old retired ex-WV fart living in the hills of TN asking people to make real sure of your facts before you tell someone you are going to kill them. America is better than that.


  • I live in Charleston. The nickname for the Kanawha Valley is “chemical valley”. We have Dupont, Freedom Industries, Monsanto, Union Carbide, Bayer CropScience plus all the inactive facilities with old storage tanks with who knows what in them. People were not prepared. In a way I feel sorry for them but in a way I don’t. They had the same opportunity as me to prepare but instead chose not to. There have been fights, and there was one instance of looting. The government is being very tight lipped, they wouldn’t even release the name of the chemical even hours after the advisory to cease use. They won’t give any time frame as to when water might be back. The water company won’t say the water is unsafe but the health department shut down all restaurants, schools, colleges, and even the hospitals stopped performing cases. CAMC is a level 1 trauma center and is in trauma diversion mode meaning all cases are diverted to Cabell Huntington a level 2 center or to Knoxville or Columbus.

    Every entity involved cares nothing about the people. They are in full scale CYA mode. They knew it was leaking as 7:30am Thursday. The company responsible for the leak may have known sooner and chose not to report. They did not issue the stop use order until after 5:00pm almost 10hrs after knowledge of the leak. Every question at the press conferences throughout today was met with answers of I don’t know. The officials supposedly in charge are either the epitome of ignorant or it’s way worse than we think it is and they just won’t tell us.

    • susanna, if you don’t think, ‘the government’ is the same as saying: Dupont, Freedom Industries, Monsanto, Union Carbide, Bayer CropScience, etc… you are way behind in your reading and your thinking.


      Keyword: Cronyism.

      Also, I second what Y’all Beware! said, “Sad when they don’t tell you the type or name of the chemical.”

    • Good question, Carol Strain.

      I focus on the number, what is it they say? 99.8%?

      …Some, is better than none?

      After you distill it, filter it?

      Life on the plant of war (Mars)… is tough. Eh? Anyway, it sure as heck ain’t easy,… that is, unless you’re ok with dying and don’t mind being a sheep?

    • It’s my understanding that a gravity-fed water filter like a Berkey WILL NOT remove this chemical. It is absolutely not worth the risk.

      Best wishes ~


  • Hello everyone my name is Mark I am a retired fire captain,and worked for NASA, and spent years researching.I wrote the local tv station in WV, and asked them to test a possible cure for the chemical. The plant that dumped the chemical was old,and in need of repairs. This has been going on since 2002, when 90 percent of industry laid off their safety people acting now like they were safe and they are not. I wrote a paper years ago that is safety took the back seat again disaster like this and others including BP could have been stopped but Greed and uncaring people took over. This happens when people turn their backs for money. This company should have checked piping tanks,no one knows how long these type of disasters can and will happen especially in a world where terrorists roam free, without having any fears.


  • I wonder how many of the Water Filter companies like Sawyer, LifeStraw, and Berkey have rushed in to donate their products to aid these poor folks in WVA. Has anyone heard or seen this yet? What a great public service this would be if shown on CNN or FOX.

  • If a Berkey filter will not clean the water, I doubt these other products would work either.

    The spill will reach Cincinnati Ohio today or tomorrow. The Cincy water system has sensors upriver in the Ohio River to detect these things. City water comes from the Ohio River.

    The Cincy water company has about 60 hours of water stored for customers.

    This nasty stuff will be flowing past many cities that take water from the river.

    I am about 100 miles north of Cincy.

  • Yes! An excellent example of why people should prep. I read an article earlier that stated that a Dollar general store in WV was selling 24 count flats of water for $39 and they were flying off the shelf !That’s $1.62 per bottle !!

    How many containers could you fill for $1.62?

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