A new chemical spill could endanger more than 1 million people in the western United States, and officials are asking people in communities near the plant to avoid the area.
The Wyoming River Basin Commission said Thursday it was sending an emergency alert to more than 30,000 people in Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota and North Dakota, asking them to avoid nearby communities.
It’s the second alert in as many days, following an initial alert on Friday.
The commission says it received reports of a possible leak of a chemical called methylmercury, which is found in many consumer products, and that it has been tested at several locations, including a test facility in the town of La Porte.
The commission says no one was exposed.
Wyoming’s largest municipal utility, the Clark County Public Utility District, said in a statement that methylmercy is “the only known toxic chemical found in the river basin.”
The commission said it was monitoring methylmerceury at the facility, which has a storage facility, but did not give more details.
It said a chemical spill is “not a threat to the public,” but that “the commission does not condone the use of this facility.”
The commission said methylmercus is “part of the environment and should not be treated as such.”
The spill is one of several in the coal mining industry that has prompted fears about health risks.
Environmentalists and mine operators say the spill has raised health risks, including the possibility of an outbreak in the waterway.
Officials at the coal-fired power plant, however, say it’s safe.
“We have been working to determine the extent of the incident, and will continue to do so, as we continue to monitor the situation,” the Clark Power Co. said in its statement.
The Clark Power Corp. said it received a warning from the Wyoming River Commission about methylmercorury on Friday afternoon.
It did not immediately respond to questions about the risk posed by the spill.
The state agency that regulates the coal industry, the Wyoming Department of Health and Human Services, said methylcorruption levels in the Colorado River are below the federal government’s highest level, but that the spill does not pose a threat.
It’s unclear how long the spill would last.
Officials said it is unlikely to affect the health of the river’s wildlife, including salmon and trout.
The state has issued warnings for several spills in the past, including one in 2010 that dumped more than a million gallons of methylmercorn into the Colorado river.