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Freedom Industries Cited By DEP Over Storage Issues Related To Chemical Involved In Leak

Reported: Jan. 15, 2014 9:33 AM EST
Updated: Jan. 15, 2014 12:38 PM EST
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NITRO, W.Va. (Bob Aaron, Jeff Morris) – Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the chemical leak in the Elk River that led to a massive water crisis across the region, has been cited by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for allegedly not following proper procedures when the material was removed from its site.

The DEP said Wednesday it has issued five citations related to the storage of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM) at Poca Blending in Nitro, where the chemical was taken after the leak occurred at the company’s location on Barlow Drive near Charleston.

The citations focus on allegations that the company has no secondary containment at the Nitro facility and issues over plans to prevent another leak.

On Friday, the DEP issued a cease operations order to the company at its Barlow Drive facility where the chemical leak occurred, prompting a massive water crisis in multiple counties.

Under the DEP's cease operations order, Freedom must halt any further receipt of material to be stored within the faulty secondary containment there and take all necessary measures to "contain, recover and remediate the material that has escaped the facility." The company also was ordered to immediately conduct an integrity test of all the above ground storage tanks and secondary containment structures.

The DEP also said its Division of Air Quality has issued a notice of violation to the company for causing statutory air pollution by discharging MCHM into the air.

DEP said in a news release that the release occurred about 1.5 miles upstream from the intake of the local public water supply.

Prior to resuming operations, Etowah River Terminal must provide a report for approval that documents the "integrity and soundness" of all storage and containment structures, the DEP said.

On Thursday, 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM) leaked into the Elk River and got into the distribution system for West Virginia American Water. The water company issued a do-not-drink-water advisory to eight counties and a portion of a ninth as a result.



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