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NEW: W. Va. CUs still open despite federal disaster declaration
CHARLESTON, W. Va. (1/10/14, UPDATED 3:20 p.m. CST)--Credit unions in and around Charleston, W. Va., are mostly open for business, despite the declaration of a federal emergency caused by a chemical spill into the drinking water system, the West Virginia Credit Union League told News Now.
 
"We've been in contact with all of the credit unions in the affected areas this morning as well as the NCUA regional office," said league President Ken Watts. Of the 22 credit unions that are affected, all but two are open for business.
 
The two that are closed are housed in facilities that did not open today--the federal courthouse in Charleston and the county vocational center in Eleanor. "Members at the other 20 credit unions have full access to their accounts and business is being conducted as usual," Watts said.
 
Up to 300,000 residents of nine counties surrounding the state's capital city are without tap water. This includes restaurants, hospitals, state and local government, and financial institutions..
 
President Barack Obama issued the federal disaster declaration for nine West Virginia counties: Kanawha, Boone, Logan, Lincoln, Putnam, Jackson, Roane, Clay and Cabell.
 
A 48,000-gallon storage tank filled with a compound to wash coal breached a containment wall at Freedom Industries before it flowed into the Elk River Thursday (The New York Times Jan. 10). 
 
As of Friday afternoon, Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the spill could not determine the amount of chemical leaked into the river.
 
The West Virginia League will be monitoring the situation throughout the weekend and will determine if any assistance is needed should the water ban extend into next week. "We are hopeful that this gets resolved in a quick and safe manner," Watts added.
 
Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water, told CNN today that the company has no timeline for declaring when the water will be safe to do more than flush toilets.
 
Residents were told that the water should not be used for drinking, boiling, washing, cleaning, bathing or given to pets.
 
Water distribution centers have been set up in the Charleston area.


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