WILLIAMSON – Mingo Countians are known for their willingness to help others in times of need, so it comes as no surprise that when residents in neighboring counties were affected by a chemical spill, Mingo County officials stepped up to offer assistance.
Logan and Lincoln counties are two of nine counties whose water sources are affected by a chemical spill discovered Thursday at Freedom Industries, Inc. in Charleston. State officials say that 7,500 gallons of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, or Crude MCHM, a chemical used in the coal industry, occurred on Thursday on the Elk River in Charleston upriver from a plant run by West Virginia American Water.
Residents whose water sources were affected by the spill have been banned from using the water except to flush toilets and extinguish fires.
Mingo County Commission (MCC) and the Mingo County Office of Emergency Services (OES) provided 525 cases of water to Logan and Lincoln counties, according to Mingo County OES Interim Director Doug Goolsby. On Thursday, 65 cases of 20 oz.-bottled water to Logan County Emergency Services to aid in the emergency and Lincoln County received 460 cases of 16 oz. bottled water on Friday, Goolsby said.
“We appreciate the assistance we have received from our neighboring counties during past emergencies,” said MCC President Greg “Hootie” Smith. “We are always willing to return the favor whenever we can.”
“I am glad our county was in a position to assist Logan and Lincoln counties during this crisis,” said MCC President Pro-Tem John Mark Hubbard. “Providing clean drinking water to our residents is a priority for this commission. We know how important clean water is. We are glad to help ensure that residents in our neighboring counties also have clean drinking water in their time of need.”
Commissioner Mike Carter reiterated Smith and Hubbard’s statements. “It is so important that we work together during emergencies to ensure the health and safety of the people affected. I’m glad that our county was in a position to help during this situation.”
More than 300,000 people have been affected by the spill. Testing of the affected water sources is ongoing and if tests continue to show the water is safe, the ban will be lifted in waves for specific areas, the first of which would be in downtown Charleston, officials said. No timetable has been given for when people could start using the water again.