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.

 

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Comments

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Sic 'em, boys!

  • Paul

    Now being reported by the feds that the tank leaked for at least 20 hours

  • Polly the Pundit

    This could be a powerful learning tool for other communities that have municipal water supplies downstream from potential hazards.

    The motive for terrorism is to instill fear and/or panic in the population - what better way than to poison the most essential element of our existence. Hopefully lessons can be learned to prevent this type of nightmare from happening to others in the future.

  • P B and J

    Booth is the Kim Kardashian of the legal world....always a media wh@re.

    • Charleston

      C'mon now? Is that really appropriate?

      • P B and J

        It's safe to say that if this never made national news, he wouldn't be there, if investigate it at all. You only hear from him if the cameras are rolling.

        He is simply throwing his name out there now for future endeavors.

  • Jonus Grumby

    I am the last person who would suggest more regulation or government intervention into private industry, but c'mon. These types of potential situations are all up & down the Kanawa Valley and need to be more closely monitored.

  • blugldmn

    It's nothing personal against Goodwin, it's politicians in general.
    Anyone who has lived in the valley can recall the countless leaks or other events over the years , the accusations, the lawsuits, the posturing. I'm sure we've been told something will be done so this won't happen many times a long time ago.

    How much DHS money did the state and city get since 911 to evaluate sites like this?

    I remember the stories about the patrol boats and such.

    I guess storage of millions of pounds of toxic, volatile chemicals right on top of the water source for the entire region never occurred to anyone.

  • Aaron

    Someone needs to take a closer look at this fiasco that is the agreement between the state and Freedom Industries.

  • hilljack

    First they say 5000 gallons, now 10000. The guys at Freedom lie and the politicians back them up with more lies. The feds won't do anything either. I still blame WV DEP for the whole mess. What do they inspect? Governor Tomblin needed to fire the head inspector and WV Water needed to fire the idiot operating the intake valve.

  • Rich

    Thank God. Someone who gets the public's concern and anger, and is doing something about it.

  • tw eagle

    has anyone taken / tested samples of the river bed downstream from the Freedom site ?

  • blugldmn

    I can tell you now the leak occurred through a crack or hole in the tank wall or floor. The leak was exacerbated by a deficient containment system. Most likely all of this would have been detected if the tank had been periodically inspected like existing law states in the last 50 years.

    Never waste a photo OP Booth...

    • Shadow

      There is absolutely no question that it came from some opening in the tank. I will bet on it.

  • blugldmn

    It's little late for pictures now but if you can waste more money to get your name out there you do it , right Booth....