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DEP Changes Hurricane Landfill MCHM Permit; Case Dismissed

Reported: Mar. 28, 2014 5:46 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 28, 2014 6:20 PM EDT
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HURRICANE, W.Va. (Leslie Rubin) -- A judge has dismissed a case that challenged a wastewater permit at a Putnam County landfill after state regulators granted a company's request to end the transport of the wastewater from a Charleston chemical spill.

Seeking a permanent injunction to prevent the dumping of more MCHM contaminated wastewater from Freedom Industries at Disposal Services landfill in Hurricane, Putnam County officials learned on Friday that the DEP had changed the permit that allowed the dumping to happen in the first place.

"By the time that we walked in to court today, it was official that Waste Management and DSI were no longer permitted to receive any of this waste," Scott Driver, associate counsel for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, said.

Judge Paul Zakaib didn't take long to deem the case was now "moot," essentially irrelevant, and dismissed it.

Hurricane City Manager Ben Newhouse said there's more they want to see done to ensure another permit won't be issued.

"We're watching out for the well-being of the city, plain and simple," he said after the hearing.

Putnam's biggest issue now lies with the remediation of 40,000 gallons of MCHM wastewater, mixed with sawdust, that was dumped at the site between Feb. 25 and March 13 without it's knowledge.

"The city was not notified about the situation and we were upset. I think anytime we have anything that is a potential hazard to our drinking water, our well-being in the community, we ought to know about it," Newhouse said,

Lawyers for the DEP do not believe what's already there needs to be removed.

"We've had our engineers examining the disposal system, we believe the disposal of this has been enacted properly. All the proper safeguards are in place for the public," Driver said.

The fate of 700,000 gallons of the material still sitting in a tank at Freedom Industries is not clear, although reports indicate that Freedom is negotiating with two out-of-state facilities to take the wastewater.



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