CHARLESTON, W.Va. The White House has issued a federal disaster declaration in West Virginia, where a chemical spill that may have contaminated tap water has prompted officials to tell residents in nine counties not to bathe, brush their teeth or wash their clothes.
Bill Hines, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, says the declaration made overnight allows for direct federal assistance in dealing with the spill.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin had previously declared a state of emergency Thursday after the spill from Freedom Industries hit the river and a nearby water treatment plant.
The chemical, a foaming agent used in the coal preparation process, leaked from a tank at Freedom Industries, overran a containment area and went into the river.