CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Representatives of the company responsible for the Jan. 9 chemical spill that contaminated the water supply of 300,000 West Virginia residents will be in federal bankruptcy court Friday.
Attorneys for Freedom Industries will ask a federal bankruptcy judge for permission to hire experts and environmental consultants to help assess what happened in the chemical leak. Freedom officials said they want to make the moves before evidence from the incident is removed or destroyed. The company is under orders from the state Department of Environmental Protection to begin removing the tanks on the site by March 15.
Additionally Freedom seeks to hire more attorneys for its legal team and a financial advisory.
More than 10,000 gallons of the chemical MCHM and a lower amount of PPH which was blended with the main chemical leaked into the Elk River at the company’s Etowha River Terminal. Hours after the spill the contaminated water entered the West Virginia American Water treatment facility in Charleston.
Subsequently the tainted water caused 300,000 people to be unable to use their water for more than a week. Although the all-clear to use the water has been given, many still remain unwilling to trust test results that show non-detect levels of the contaminant in the water system.
Soon after the spill, Freedom Industries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As part of its bankruptcy filing, the company was approved to borrow up to $4 million. So far the company has indicated spending about $1 million on the cleanup—most of that on attorney fees and transportation to remove the remaining chemical off-site.
The hearing is set for 10 a.m. Friday at the Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse in Charleston.