CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The FBI’s Hazardous Material Response Team arrived at Freedom Industries Tuesday morning.
The visit came nearly three weeks after the Jan. 9 chemical spill that touched off a nine-county water emergency.
“They’re going in the tank, reviewing where the breach might have occurred, videotaping the inside of the tank and taking pictures,” according to U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.
It’s all part of an ongoing federal investigation.
Freedom executives revealed on Monday that 10,000 gallons of a blended combination of MCHM and PPH leaked from the metal tank. The original leak amount was listed as 2,500 gallons and then revised that number to 7,500 gallons a few days later.
Goodwin said Tuesday the goal of the investigation is to find out exactly what happened to cause the leak.
“We’re doing a confined space entry which requires the FBI’s Hazardous Material Response Team to make sure that everything is done right, everything is done by the book and done safely,” he said.
The team started out checking the perimeters of all 17 tanks on the property. They took lots of photos and notes. Then members of the team, who are experts handling hazardous chemicals, moved inside the tank.
“[They are here] to gather the evidence we need to conduct a very thorough investigation,” said Goodwin.
Freedom Industries consented to the FBI inspection. Company officials knew ahead of time when the team would arrive.
Freedom has agreed with an order from the state DEP and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin that dismantling of the entire tank farm is to begin no later than March 15.