WCHS Eyewitness News Home Charleston Eyewitness Newsroom Charleston Storm Team Weather Sports News TV Program Schedule Community Mobile: Smartphone,Tablet and SMS text Get Connected SMS Text Facebook Twitter See-It,Shoot-It RSS News Feed Email List Tumblr

CSB Says Freedom industries Spill Was Preventable; Says Lack Of Inspections To Blame

Reported by: Send eMail Bob Aaron, Heath Harrison, Jeff Morris
Reported: Jul. 16, 2014 2:11 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 16, 2014 6:47 PM EDT

Chemical Spill Investigation
Eyewitness News Photo

Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board said Wednesday that it looks like water seeping from holes in the roof of a tank loaded with crude MCHM caused the Freedom Industries spill which contaminated the drinking water supply for 300,000 West Virginians in January.

Officials for the agency said, as they released their preliminary findings on the spill, it now looks like at least one other tank leaked.

They are knocking down the tanks at freedom - tanks that CSB investigators said were never properly inspected. Now, federal investigators say holes in a storage tank floor likely allowed chemicals to seep out and contaminate the drinking water supply. Holes in the tank roof allowed the water to leak in, producing corrosion that then created the holes in the floor. The CSB found holes in the floor of the tank that held the spilled chemical, and they suspect the adjacent tank and perhaps others had holes in them

Pieces of the tank are undergoing metallurgical examination. The CSB said they couldn't find records of tank inspections before the January spill. It is unclear how often or rigorously, or even if, inspections occurred. The CSB chairman said self-policing does not work.

The spill spurred a don-not-use tap water order for 300,000 people for several days. The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. Its chairman called the spill a disaster of the highest magnitude that was preventable.

In a separate case, CSB investigators also found a New Cumberland plant lacked a safety system to collect combustible dust when a 2010 explosion killed three people.

The CSB said there have been 50 serious and sometimes deadly dust explosions since OSHA was first urged to impose dust rules.

The dust rules still have not been imposed.

The head of the Chemical Safety and Hazard and Investigation Board said Wednesday that a lack of inspections and hazard reviews is the root cause of the Jan. 9 spill that contaminated the water supply in nine counties.

CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso's comments came at a public meeting in Charleston. The board said it could find no record of inspections at Freedom Industries’ chemical tanks at the scene of where the massive chemical spill occurred.

The CSB said the tanks had signs of pitting and metallurgical damage and that growing corrosion went unnoticed in tank 396 and leaked 10,000 gallons of MCHM. They found a similar hole in the floor of another Freedom Industries tank that held the spilled chemical.

Meanwhile, the board said the leak was caused by water seeping through holes in the tank roof.

Also at the public meeting, the board heard findings and recommendations from the CSB's investigation team into the Dec. 9, 2010, explosion and fire that occurred at AL Solutions located in New Cumberland, W.Va. An explosion ripped through the New Cumberland AL Solutions titanium plant, fatally injuring three workers. The workers were processing titanium powder, which is highly combustible, at the time of the explosion.

State Fire Marshals Say Smoldering Cigarette Ignited Couch, Causing Fatal St. Albans Fire
Jul. 30, 2014 7:23 PM EDT
State fire marshals said a smoldering cigarette ignited ...
Full News Story and Video

It's Never Too Late For Adults To Learn To Swim
Jul. 30, 2014 7:18 PM EDT
More than one third of adults can’t swim. Eyewitness ...
Full News Story and Video

Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

West Virginia News
2 dead following house fire in W.Va.

The State Fire Marshal's Office says "careless smoking" caused a house fire in St. Albans that left two people dead.
Full Story

Kentucky News
Stars Above Me wins Coronation Cup at Saratoga

Favored Stars Above Me burst through an opening along the rail in mid-stretch and pulled away for a 2 1/4-length victory Wednesday in the $100,000 Coronation Cup at Saratoga Race Course.
Full Story

Ohio News
Health department revokes Ohio clinic's license

The interim director of the Ohio Department of Health has signed an order to revoke the license of Toledo's last abortion clinic.
Full Story

Fugitive Files Tuesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

West Virginia Wildlife Wednesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

ABC News web site

Send Mail Send email to news@wchstv.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2014, WCHS-TV8. Portions are Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.

WCHS ABC 8 provides local news, weather forecasts, traffic updates, notices of events and items of interest in the community, sports and entertainment programming for Charleston and nearby towns and communities in the Tri-State area, including Huntington, Dunbar, Marmet, Montgomery, Nitro, South Charleston, St. Albans, Cedar Grove, Chesapeake, Clendenin, East Bank, Glasgow, Pratt, Cross Lanes, Elkview, Pinch, Sissonville, Big Chimney, Cabin Creek, Chelyan, Davis Creek, Institute, Jefferson, Loudendale, Mink Shoals, Pocatalico, Quick, Quincy, Rand, Buffalo, Eleanor, Hurricane, Nitro, Poca, Winfield, Culloden, Fraziers Bottom, Hometown, Red House, Scott Depot, Teays Valley, Danville, Madison, Hamlin, Logan, Chapmanville, Man, Delbarton, Kermit, Gilbert, Matewan, Williamson, Summersville, Richwood, Flatwoods, Gassaway, Sutton, Spencer, Ravenswood, Ripley, Mason, Point Pleasant, Ashland, Pikeville, Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, and Athens.