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.

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Comments

  • Aaron

    "Freedom agrees to tear down" tanks is a completely different story than "Governor orders Freedom dismantled," a power he nor anyone else in the Executive Branch has.

    I wonder though, why the rush? I can understand removing chemicals, particularly if it can be determined that containment dikes are unstable or inadequate but I see absolutely no reason for dismantling the site before the investigation is complete.

    Freedom agreeing to tear it down makes about as much sense as the government wanting it down, particularly when you consider that by waiving their rights to due process and signing the DEP order they have admitted guilt in a court of law.

    It's one thing to be guilty in the court of public opinion but to admit it in court is quite a different story. Are they admitting negligence on their part and if so, does that alleviate their insurance company from financial responsibility?

    Unless there is overwhelming evidence that the dike was bad prior to the water main rupture that damage the storage tank, I would think that Freedom would, legally speaking, have a leg to claim that the same rupture damaged their containment dike but they've eliminated that defense.

    Nothing about this fiasco makes any sense and it seems to me that no one wants the public to truly know what happened.

    Where's an unbiased press when you need it?

  • countryroader

    Calcium chloride? Freedom Industries has calcium chloride? It is an excellent deicer, good to well below zero. We could use that! Is somebody on it?

  • cutty77

    Remember this guy that bought this company has owned it less than a month. So i'm not blaming everything on him. The DEP has made alot of mistakes on this Deal too.

  • Rich

    So the state allowed them to destroy the evidence.

  • Chef Camille

    Amazing they did not have compliance ready containment tanks. That simply does not make sense.Obviously the owners are responsible but where was the State in this process?

    • Obama

      I don't know, I'm just glad WV will have fewer people working, and one more co. is out of business.

      • Uncle Unctuous

        Ah yes, the inevitable Obama fetishist, tracing any and every perceived ill to the hated bogeyman Obama. It's a twisted and sad coping mechanism wielded against a world he/she cannot understand - like a pacifier in the mouth of a grown man.

        • Obama

          This comment rides a razor thin line between genius and complete and utter nonsense.

      • Obama

        I'm just glad that more people will be depending on the govt. for their very existence, the more people on welfare, disability, etc., the better off the democrat party is.

      • Tom P.

        With an attitude like that, Obama, it's no wonder you aren't very popular here. As a long-time West Virginian, I don't care how much poison our industries spew and leak Into the air and water, as long as they provide good paying jobs to us poor slobs.

      • LEE ARTHUR

        Obama at what cost to ourselves do we allow this crap continue to happen ?

        • Plopaganda

          It doesn't matter just as long as someone is making money so neocon drones can praise them.

          • Plopaganda

            *someone from out of state, I should have said.