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West Virginia Water Ban Lifted

A stretch of the Elk River in Charleston, W.Va., is shown Friday, Jan. 10, 2014. The White House has issued a federal disaster declaration in West Virginia, where a chemical spill in the Elk River may have contaminated the tap water. (AP Photo / Tyler Eve

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(AURN/AP) --  A ban on tap water has been lifted in part of West Virginia that was hit by a chemical that spilled into a river and tainted the water supply.  Gov. Earl Tomblin made the announcement at a news conference Monday, five days after about 300,000 people were told not to drink, wash or use the water in any way other than to flush their toilets.

Officials are lifting the ban in a strict, methodical manner to help ensure the water system is not overwhelmed by excessive demand, which could cause more water quality and service issues. The water crisis started Thursday when the chemical used in coal processing leaked from a Freedom Industries plant into the nearby Elk River.

It's still not clear exactly what caused a tank to start leaking the chemical.

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