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Demolition On Freedom Industries' Tanks Continues

Reported by: Send eMail Katelyn Sykes
Also Contributing: Kaylin Searles, Rachel Tarr
Reported: Jul. 16, 2014 12:55 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 17, 2014 4:41 AM EDT
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Freedom Industries' Tank Demolition
Eyewitness News Photo

Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

Wednesday is a day many people in the Kanawha Valley have been anxiously awaiting.

Demolition crews were at Freedom Industries tearing down chemical tanks. One of those tanks leaked MCHM in January that contaminated the water supply for some 300,000 people.

Crews faced set back after set back, but nearly six months following the spill these tanks are coming down one by one, a day Freedom Industries' officials are calling symbolic.

Demolition teams could only take out a certain section of the containment wall. Tank 399 is the first to come down. Neighboring tanks will come down next. The group of tanks where MCHM was being held will be torn down next week. Steel is being boxed up and shipped out to get recycled.

An excavator, attached with a hydraulic shear cut through three-sixteenths of an inch of steel holding up this 48-foot tall tank -- a demolition long in the making.

"We've done a lot of processes that you don't see, which is the abatement of the asbestos,” Mark Welch, chief restructuring officer for Freedom Industries, said. “We have tarps put down. We have washing stations. We cleaned every single tank. Now they're just cutting the steal and boxing it up.

"All of the chemicals have been gone. That's why it's taken so long. We pulled all of the chemicals,” Welch said. “We've processed about 1.5 million gallons of water through here and material through solidification and transportation, so there isn't any material here. We've scrubbed every tank.”

Welch said the demolition of the tanks is putting a symbolic end to the water crisis.

"This is the finale and then the remediation will be pretty light,” Welch said. “We've been moving a lot of things and cleaning as much as we can to make it that easy."

The work isn’t finished after crews demolish the tanks; a remediation process of the land underneath the tanks will begin to make sure it's not contaminated. Crews have not said how long that process will take, but the tanks that started getting demolished Wednesday should be removed by the end of next week.



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