Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., also said he would call for a CSB investigation. He said in a letter to the board that he was "profoundly troubled by [the] chemical spill and am concerned about the problems it is causing hundreds of thousands of West Virginians across nine counties."
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said his office has opened a criminal investigation of the matter.
"Yesterday's release of a potentially dangerous chemical into our water supply has put hundreds of thousands of West Virginians at risk, severely disrupted our region's economy, and upended people's daily lives," Goodwin said. "We will determine what caused it and take whatever action is appropriate based on the evidence we uncover."
Tomblin said he would direct his lead lawyer, the Division of Homeland Security and the National Guard to conduct an "after-action review" of the leak, similar to reviews done after the June 2012 derecho and Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. He said those reviews helped state officials learn how to best distribute water to residents who need it.
Tomblin said it's easier to respond to a disaster that affects just a handful of counties.
"One good thing about this is it's a smaller area," Tomblin said. "We don't have 53 counties out at one time. We have supplies, food and water coming in from all parts of the state."
Several area events were canceled, postponed or moved. The Rough N Rowdy Brawl at the Civic Center was postponed until next weekend, and a West Virginia State University basketball game Saturday was moved from Institute to Notre Dame of Ohio's campus near Cleveland.
Kanawha County sheriff's deputies were called to Freedom Industries Friday afternoon after someone made a threatening phone call to the facility.
"The guy said he was going to go over there and teach everyone a lesson," said Kanawha Sheriff's Cpl. Brian Humphreys. He said no one showed up to make good on the threat, but some deputies remained on scene Friday afternoon as a precaution.
Freedom Industries President Gary Southern said Friday afternoon that the company used vacuum trucks to remove all the contaminated soil it could and moved it to a storage area to await disposal.
Southern said the steel tank that leaked held 35,000 gallons of the chemical, but he said he did not know how much leaked into the river or how the chemical leaked out of the tank and through a containment dike.
Southern's statements about when the company discovered the leak -- and what officials did next -- conflict with the accounts given by the Department of Environmental Protection and other government officials.
"Approximately 10:30 yesterday, two of our employees identified that there was a material leaking from a storage tank in a dike area," he said. "Once this was realized, we reported it to the appropriate authorities and immediately started the remediation process."
The DEP was getting complaints about a strange licorice odor as early as 8:15 a.m. Thursday, and when its investigators arrived at Freedom Industries later Thursday morning, they found that the company had taken "no spill containment measures." The DEP said Freedom first reported the spill at 12:05 p.m. Thursday.
Southern said all of Freedom's efforts have been focused on cleanup since 10:30 a.m. Thursday, but he did not directly answer when asked when the company halted regular plant operations.
McIntyre said Friday morning that the water company has had no contact with Freedom Industries. He also didn't know how much of the chemical had leaked.
"I do not know the status, but I do not believe it's continuing to flow," he said. "We need to get the water from this plant up to a safe standard . . . . We need to know what the quantities are and what the health risks are for those quantities.
"They did not report this to us, and I have no idea when or if they reported it to anyone else."
McIntyre said the water company first learned there was a chemical leak just before noon Thursday and began its standard treatment procedures at that time.
After learning of the chemical leak, the water company initially was working under the assumption that it was a flocculant, common in water treatment. Officials there did not learn the correct identity of the chemical until two hours later, McIntyre said. At 4 p.m. Thursday, the company realized that the water, even after treatment, still had a licorice odor. That's when it began considering a "do not use" order.
The company's standard and emergency water treatments are applicable to chemicals commonly found in water and were not effective on the chemical that leaked.
Even after the level of contamination is determined, McIntyre said, "water can take hours to days" to flush through the system.
Tomblin said Thursday's chemical spill and its aftermath show the importance of preparing for emergencies -- "at the state, county and city level, but also in our homes."
"Obviously, this is an inconvenience for all of us," Tomblin said. "We'll get through it. We're tough West Virginians."
Staff writers Eric Eyre, Mackenzie Mays, Rick Steelhammer, Rusty Marks, Caitlin Cook, Lori Kersey and Kate White contributed to this report.
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.