Slow return to normal life in spill-plagued W.Va.

By By JONATHAN MATTISE and BEN NUCKOLS

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Water has been declared safe to drink in portions of West Virginia's capital, allowing some businesses and restaurants to reopen five days after a chemical spill. But life has yet to return to normal for most of the 300,000 people affected by the crisis.

It could still be days before everyone in the Charleston metropolitan area is cleared to use water. Officials said Monday that the water in certain areas was safe to drink and wash with as long as people flushed out their systems. They cautioned that the water might still have a slight licorice-type odor.

Some residents say they're skeptical and won't drink the water anytime soon.

The crisis started when a chemical used in coal processing leaked from a Freedom Industries plant into the nearby Elk River.

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