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People Living Near Freedom Industries Glad Tanks Now Being Torn Down

Reported by: Send eMail Kera Mashek
Videographer: Shelby Spradling
Also Contributing: Bob Aaron
Reported: Jul. 15, 2014 10:12 PM EDT
EYEWITNESS NEWS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO

Freedom Demo Update
Eyewitness News Photo

Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

Demolition is now officially underway at Freedom Industries. That's the site of a January chemical spill that contaminated the drinking water for 300,000 people. After a lot of delays, the demo will final get into full swing Wednesday morning at Freedom Industries. And for the thousands who endured the water crisis, cleaning up the Freedom site is one more step in making sure something like it never happens again.

Patty Schott lives close enough to the Freedom Industries tank farm, she's seen it every day for decades and actually has fond memories of the now shuttered business. But make no mistake, she's still glad to know these tanks are coming down.

"As a child growing up here, I'm just used to so many years of seeing that and being able to use the grounds a little bit for riding a bicycle when I was younger. But you know, with the situation, yes, the best thing is that they take it down and out," Schott said.

Even seven months later, being so close to the spill site--schott says she's still nervous about using the water..

"Every week we do guy buy a 10 pack of one gallon water supply, and I'm not using it so much in cooking just here and there once in a while. If they're not for sure, then how could I be sure about anything, especially with grandchildren around," Schott said.

The chief restructuring officer for Freedom Industries, Mark Welch, gave Eyewitness News an exclusive inside look of the Freedom property and says extensive steps have been taken to avoid another chemical accident during the demolition process.

"We have the trenches all monitored. We have about eight pumps going on right now. We have guzzlers and vacuum trucks in place. We'll also have our engineers and our people in here. There's no material in here. There's no risk. We have protocol, and we've taken a lot of time to do this right," Welch said.

In fact, Freedom has spent some $6 million on the clean-up so far.

The process of tearing down the tanks here at Freedom Industries is only supposed to take about two weeks. For those living in the shadows of the tank farm, that can't come soon enough.

"I will be happy when it's all over!" said Schott.



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