published Friday, January 10th, 2014

West Virginia authorities order company to drain chemical tanks

A stretch of the Elk River in Charleston, W.Va., is shown Friday, Jan. 10, 2014.
A stretch of the Elk River in Charleston, W.Va., is shown Friday, Jan. 10, 2014.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia authorities have ordered a company to remove the chemicals from its storage tanks after a spill contaminated the water supply of nine counties and forced residents to use bottled water.

Officials at the Department of Environmental Protection ordered Freedom Enterprises Inc. late Friday to start removing all the chemicals in 14 above-ground storage tanks near the Elk River within 24 hours.

The chemicals in three of those tanks, including one that was discovering leaking Thursday, have mostly been removed. Within a day, the company must submit a plan to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater.

The leak left the water for 300,000 people in and around Charleston stained blue-green and smelling like licorice. It was unclear Friday how much spilled and when residents can use the water again.

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