CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Frustration is mounting for many of the 300,000 West Virginia residents who’ve gone three days without clean tap water.
The emergency began Thursday following complaints to West Virginia American Water about an odor in the tap water. The chemical had leaked out of a 40,000-gallon tank at a Freedom Industries facility along the Elk River.
State officials says they believe about 7,500 gallons leaked. It’s not clear exactly how much entered the water supply, and authorities say it could take days for clean tap water to flow again.
Officials are pleading for patience from residents in nine affected counties.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is among those sending bottled water and other supplies to the region.
Meanwhile, business owners around the capital are wondering how much of an economic hit they’ll take. Most visitors have cleared out of Charleston while locals are either staying home or driving out of the area to find somewhere they can get a hot meal or a shower.
Virtually every restaurant is closed, unable to use water to prepare food, wash dishes or clean employees’ hands.