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WVDEP: Water affected by coal slurry leak is safe to drink

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection declared the water in Boone County safe after a coal slurry leak last week at an Alpha Natural Resources Inc. facility.

A West Virginia TV station, WSAZ, reported March 24 that two municipal water intakes that were closed in the wake of the leak have reopened.

The agency is still investigating how much coal was leaked into Crooked Run, but inspectors believe that the coal slurry came from a burst pipe that was discovered March 23. Crooked Run flows into Drawdy Creek, then into Coal River.

A second leak occurred as contaminated water was being pumped out of Crooked Run when a pump valve apparently failed, causing a second leak due to backfill.

The Admiral Processing operation, an affiliate of Alpha, was issued an imminent harm cessation order.