CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Freedom Industries told the state DEP Monday it’s redone its calculations and now believes 10,000 gallons of Crude MCHM and PPH leaked from its 35,000 gallon storage tank along the Elk River in Charleston that touched off the nine-county water emergency.
The original estimate soon after the leak was detected on Jan. 9 was 2,000 to 5,000 gallons but then Freedom upped that amount to 7,500 gallons a few days later before Monday’s new number.
“We are not making any judgment about its (estimate) accuracy,” state DEP Secretary Randy Huffman said in a news release. “We felt it was important to provide to the public what the company has provided the WVDEP in writing. We are still reviewing the calculation and this is something that will be researched further during the course of this investigation.”
Huffman added it’s not known how much of the 10,000 gallons made it into the Elk River. Freedom said it has recovered 1,272 gallons of the blended chemicals in absorbent booms and other control devices.
DEP received the new information from Freedom in response to the agency’s order that the company provide the methodology in which it calculated how much of the chemicals had leaked.
There was Crude MCHM in three of the 17 tanks at the Freedom site. All of the material has been removed and transferred to the company’s Poca Blending site in Nitro. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has ordered all 17 tanks at the Elk River site demolished beginning no later than March 15. Freedom has agreed not to appeal the order.