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Neighbors Near Company That Hauled MCHM For Freedom Industries Frustrated By Violations, Chemical Odor

Reported: Mar. 14, 2014 3:17 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 14, 2014 11:15 PM EDT
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ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (Katy Brown) -- People who live next to Diversified Services near St. Albans are frustrated, angry, and sick.

"Is it going to take somebody dying before they stop him?" asked one neighbor. "Is that what it's going to take for someone to care?"

Diversified was hired by Freedom Industries to transport MCHM and other chemicals.

But on Friday, the DEP's Division of Water and Waste Management issued two notices of violations to the trucking company after finding MCHM in the drainage system near their headquarters outside of St. Albans.

Neighbors said they've been breathing in that MCHM for years.

"The DEP guy comes down and tells me they're cleaning it up," said the neighbor. "Can we really trust these people to clean up the mess they made?"

And with the warm weather, people living in the area said that all too familiar licorice smell is stronger than ever.

"At different times it's really bad," Cecelia Sanson said. "You cry. You get nosebleeds. You get headaches."

The issue at Diversified is that the company's drains dump into a tributary of the Kanawha River.

No one knows how much of the MCHM got into the drainage system or the exact cause and timeframe of the release.

But the good news is that there are no public water intakes immediately downstream from the site.

Still, neighbors hope Diversified does the responsible thing.

"I hope that they clean up everything that they've messed up," Sanson said. "And I hope they don't do it somewhere else."

Diversified Services has until March 26 to provide a written response to the violations.

In the meantime, the DEP will continue to monitor the situation.




ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (Heath Harrison) -- The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Water and Waste Management has issued two notices of violation to a company that hauled MCHM and other chemicals for Freedom Industries.

According to a news release from the DEP, inspectors responded to a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of a sheen in a drainage system at the facility of Diversified Services near St. Albans.

A separate investigation of the company by the EPA and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. has been ongoing. A group of FBI agents removed computers, paperwork and boxes from the company last week.

The WVDEP conducted sampling at the site and instructed Diversified to take action to contain the material. The agency said the company complied. The test results showed MCHM was present in the drainage system, which empties into the Kanawha River.

The notices include a stormwater permit violation and a failure to minimize or prevent a potentially harmful discharge.

The company has until March 26 to craft a response to the violations.

MCHM was the chemical that contaminated the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians in nine counties, after 10,000 gallons leaked into the Elk River from Freedom’s Charleston facility on Jan. 9. Diversified has been been working for Freedom to remove the chemical from the Charleston site.



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