National News

Jan 10, 2014 11:36 AM by Associated Press

Federal disaster declaration for West Virginia counties

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - About 300,000 people in West Virginia are unable to use their tap water for drinking, bathing, cooking or washing clothes today.

It's because of a chemical spill in the Elk River in Charleston that has shut down much of the city and surrounding counties.

West Virginia's National Guard is planning to distribute bottled drinking water to emergency service agencies in the nine counties that are affected.

Officials say the restrictions on water use are just a precaution -- since they're still not sure exactly what kind of a threat the spill poses.

President Barack Obama has signed a federal disaster declaration for the nine counties.

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