The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

State News

January 22, 2014

DEP orders Freedom to disclose all materials spilled into Elk

Company told agency Tuesday another chemical was contained in tank

CHARLESTON —

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, this morning, ordered Freedom Industries to disclose, by this afternoon, all materials spilled during a release from one of its storage tanks at its Elk River Ettowah Terminal on Jan. 9.

The Order comes in response to Freedom’s disclosure to the WVDEP on January 21 that another chemical, in addition to Crude MCHM, was contained in the above-ground storage tank that leaked materials into the Elk River and shut down the water supply for more than 300,000 West Virginia residents.

Freedom told the WVDEP on January 21 that the storage tank also contained roughly 300 gallons of a chemical called PPH, or polyglycol eithers, that it adds to its Crude MCHM mixture. This material was not included in the initial information regarding the composition of the spilled materials. Failure to accurately report “the type or types and quantity or quantities of the material or materials therein” is a violation of state code.

Today’s Order says that by 4 p.m. today, Freedom Industries shall provide any and all information fully describing the composition of the materials spilled into the Elk River on Jan. 9. The information is to be submitted to the onsite WVDEP inspector.

“Having this revelation so late in the game is completely unacceptable,” said WVDEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman. “We have ordered Freedom to reveal any other information they have regarding the contents of the tank that leaked.”

“Having to order them to provide such obvious information is indicative of the continued decline of their credibility,” Huffman said.

Compliance with the terms and conditions of this Order shall not in any way be construed as relieving Freedom Industries, Inc. of the obligation to comply with any applicable law, permit, other order, or any other requirement otherwise applicable.  Violations of the terms and conditions of this Order may subject Freedom Industries, Inc. to additional enforcement action in accordance with the applicable law.

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