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Work Continues On Spill Site Clean-Up

Reported: Jan. 13, 2014 8:25 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 13, 2014 8:55 PM EST
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (Kennie Bass) - Work continued Monday at Freedom Industries in the wake of the chemical spill which shut down water service for 300,000 West Virginians. The fact that Freedom itself is responsible for the cleanup has some people on edge, considering the company is responsible for the disaster in the first place.

Eyewitness News asked if it is a little bit like letting the fox guard the henhouse.

"Well, they are responsible," Randy Huffman, director of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, said. "They are the responsible party legally. They're the responsible party legally for the spill and they are responsible financially. I have the DEP personnel on sit 24 hours a day up there to ensure that it's done right."

Mike Dorsey is the DEP's point man at the chemical company site. He's been working closely with Freedom, making sure the company is following the correct procedures to avoid any more contamination of the water supply.

Dorsey was asked how much he trusted Freedom Industries to do a good job and if he was making sure that they were doing so.

"Well, that's the key," Dorsey said. "We are on site. EPA is on site. We're watching the remediation activities pretty closely. Yeah, you trust but verify as the old saying goes."

Dorsey was asked if he trusted Freedom Industries.

"You trust anybody as far as you can see them," Dorsey said.

Huffman said while Freedom Industries is financially responsible for the cleanup, it is the Department of Environmental Protection which is in charge and running the show.

'In spite of what's happened here which is unfortunate and has really been a bad thing, our interaction with them in the remediation part of the project has not presented any problems," Huffman said.

Huffman added while the immediate focus continues to be on cleaning the site and making sure no more chemical leak into the Elk River, the next step is a thorough investigation which could result in penalties and fines for Freedom Industries.



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