CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Environmental Protection said Friday night Freedom Industries failed for a second day in a row to keep stormwater runoff from overflowing a collection trench in Charleston, causing another spill into the Elk River.
“To have this happen twice in two days is outrageous and unacceptable,” said DEP Secretary Randy Huffman in a statement. “Freedom and its environmental consultant should have a system in place to handle heavy rainfall.”
It rained about an inch in 20 minutes late Friday afternoon in Charleston.
“If a better system is not implemented immediately, the DEP will take action to bring in a more responsible contractor to handle it,” Huffman said.
Friday’s discharge from the Freedom site lasted about 50 minutes, according to the agency, and was brought under control by increased pumping.
West Virginia American Water began collecting samples for the second night in a row after learning of the spill. The samples collected Thursday came back at a non-detect levels for the chemical crude MCHM.
The DEP issued two notices of violation to Freedom Friday following the first spill. The company is required to respond by noon Saturday with an outline on how the collection system will be redesigned to prevent future overflows.
The Freedom site is under a cleanup plan after more than 10,000 gallons of MCHM spilled into the Elk River Jan. 9 causing a water emergency for residents in parts of nine West Virginia counties.