CHARLESTON,W.Va. – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issued an executive order requiring Freedom Industries to remove all remaining materials and dismantle all 17 storage tanks at the company’s Etowah River Terminal on the Elk River in Charleston.
Tomblin’s order came in the wake of a tank leak on the site January 9, 2014. The incident allowed more than 7,000 gallons of Crude MCHM to escape into the Elk River and an unknown quantity of the chemical PPH. The leak, located a mile and a half upstream from West Virginia American Water’s Charleston water treatment facility, contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginia residents in a nine county area.
Tomblin’s order require the remaining materials be transported off site to another storage facility with adequate secondary containment. Furthermore, Freedom is required to install measures to insure secondary containment at the Etowha Terminal prior to removal of any chemicals present.
A lack of adequate secondary control is identified as one of the problems which allowed the original leak.
Once empty, the governor ordered all 17 tanks on the site dismantled along with associated piping and machinery on site.
Tomblin’s order is part of a consent order issued Friday by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and signed by Freedom Industries. Governor Tomblin and Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman began discussions about the elimination of the tank farm January 10th a day after the leak.
The site currently has 17 tanks, three of which contained Crude MCHM. Those three are now empty. The remaining 14 tanks contain Calcium Chloride and Glycerin. The DEP said all of the tanks have an inadequate secondary containment.
Freedom Industries must begin the process by March 15, 2014. The company must also provided the West Virginia DEP with detailed reports of the disposition of all materials removed.The company also must provide the WVDEP with reports detailing the disposition of the materials removed from the tanks.
Tomblin’s order further requires Freedom to adequately demonstrate any delay in the process is beyond their control.
An administration press release detailing the order explain the action does not relieve Freedom of further obligations to comply with all laws governing the removal process.