CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Freedom Industries has until March 15 to remove any remaining chemicals from the company’s facility along the Elk River in Kanawha County and start dismantling the site where a Jan. 9 leak of crude MCHM and PPH originated.
The chemicals made it into the water supply for more than 300,000 West Virginians in parts of nine counties and left those customers of West Virginia American Water without usable tap water for days.
With the company’s consent, the state Department of Environmental Protection has ordered Freedom to move forward with the tear down process for the 17 total tanks, along with the associated piping and machinery, at the Etowah River Terminal property.
“They gave up the right to appeal that order and they still have to comply with all the laws and rules,” said Randy Huffman, secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection of the agreement. “They recognize the situation they’re in and that it’s not realistic to expect to continue to operate there.”
As of Saturday, state officials said 14 of the 17 tanks at the Freedom site contained chemicals, including calcium chloride and glycerin, and none had adequate secondary containment areas. As part of the order, temporary measures must be installed to prevent spills during the dismantling process.
Freedom Industries, a company that has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, has initially indicated the company will pay for the site demolition. On Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” though, Huffman said it was not immediately clear if the state has the ability to fully enforce the order.