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Governor lifts water emergency declaration

CHARLESTON (AP) — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has lifted a state of emergency related to the January chemical spill into a public water supply.

Tomblin issued a proclamation rescinding the emergency declaration Friday, more than seven weeks after it was issued. The emergency declaration covered nine counties affected by the Jan. 9 spill of a coal-cleaning agent into the Elk River. The spill contaminated 300,000 residents’ water for days, making it usable only for fighting fires and flushing toilets.

Health officials said the water was safe to use more than a month ago, but Tomblin kept the emergency declaration in force partially because of lingering odor from some taps and showers.

The governor said in Friday’s proclamation that contaminants in the system are at nondetectable levels.

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