Tens of thousands cleared to start using water in West Virginia

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West Virginia officials on Tuesday lifted a ban on drinking tap water from 35,000 customers who had been affected by a chemical spill that left the state’s water supply nearly unusable for hundreds of thousands since last week.

More than 300,000 consumers were affected after as much as 7,500 gallons (28,000 liters) of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or crude MCHM, leaked into the river.

“We’re getting back to normal stage by stage,” U.S. Senator Joe Manchin told MSNBC on Tuesday. “I would say by tomorrow everything should be back up and running.”

Officials said on Monday that it might be several days before the entire system, with its hundreds of miles of pipe, is safe to use.