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Freedom Ordered To Tear Down Aging Tanks

Reported: Jan. 26, 2014 10:27 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 26, 2014 10:41 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Fallon Pierson) -- Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the chemical leak that contaminated the water supply for 300,000 people is being ordered to dismantle all of its equipment at its Charleston storage facility by mid-March.

Jim Vermillian lives on Barlow Drive in Charleston, not even a mile away from Freedom Industries, a company many are now angry with, after it 7,500 gallons of crude MCHM leaked into the Elk River.

"I'd like to see them torn down,” he said. “I really would."

And now, Vermillian's wish will be coming true.

That's because Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered Freedom to remove all 17 of its above ground storage tanks at the Charleston facility.

Three of those were home to the leaked chemical that is used to clean coal, and have already been safely emptied out.

The other tanks store chemicals like calcium chloride and glycerin.

Vermillian thinks it is about time for a chemical clean-up, since his father worked there in the early 1950s, when it was Elk Refineries, and he said the same tanks were in place then.

"I know the tanks have to be 50 years or older,” he said. “They got to be rusted out inside. They're old enough. They don't need to have chemicals in them. Of course, before, they had fuel in them. That won't rust."

Since the chemical leak, it has been revealed that Freedom's tanks hadn't been inspected for 20 years.

The order to tear them down doesn't come a moment too soon for Vermillian.

"I think it's a good thing if we tear them all down,” he said. “They're old enough. They don't need to have chemicals in them."

And now, there's finally relief in sight for neighbors who live on Barlow Drive, since Freedom has to start tearing down its tanks, piping and equipment by March 15.

The good news: It looks like some of that work is already underway.

"They've been hauling that stuff up and down here for the last three or four years,” Vermillian said. “Tanks full of it. The last few days, though. They've really hauled a lot of it out of here. I'll be glad to see them go."



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