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UPDATE: Freedom Industries Responds to WVDEP, Two Chemicals Leaked from Tank

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

Freedom Response to WVDEP Order

WVDEP Order for Freedom Industries

UPDATE 1/22/14 @ 5:10 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Freedom Industries says chemicals MCHM and PPH were the only two chemicals that leaked from a tank on their property into the Elk River earlier this month.

The leak, that happened on January 9, led to a state of emergency and "do not use" water ban for West Virginia American Water customers in nine West Virginia counties.

It wasn't until January 21 that the company told the DEP that PPH also leaked from the tank.

“PPH is added to the Crude MCHM to act as an ‘extender’ in that the Crude MCHM is available in limited, sporadic quantities,” Freedom said in its response letter to the WVDEP. “At the time of the release on Jan. 9, the blend in Tank No. 396, after extensive calculation, was approximately 88.5 percent Crude MCHM, and 7.3 percent PPH by weight and 4.2 percent water by weight. Our records and internal investigations indicate that there were no other materials in Tank 396 at the time of the release.”

Freedom’s letter was signed by Freedom President Gary Southern.

Freedom told the WVDEP on Jan. 21 that the storage tank contained roughly 300 gallons of PPH 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, according to the DEP.

“Having this revelation so late in the game is completely unacceptable,” said WVDEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman said earlier today. “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.



UPDATE 1/22/14 @ 11:35 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has ordered Freedom Industries to disclose, by Wednesday afternoon, all materials spilled during a chemical leak that happened earlier this month.

The chemical MCHM leaked from one of the companies storage tanks into the Elk River on January 9. Hundreds of thousands of West Virginia American Water customers in nine counties were under a "do not use" water order for several days due to the leak.

On Tuesday, January 21, Freedom told the WVDEP that the storage tank also contained roughly 300 gallons of a chemical called PPH, or polyglycol ethers, that it adds to its Crude MCHM mixture.

According to the DEP, 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, the DEP says.

“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.”

The DEP says Freedom has until 4 p.m to give them a full statement of the composition of materials spilled into the Elk River.

“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.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.




ORIGINAL STORY 1/21/14 @ 10:51 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Another chemical was found in the Elk River after the massive spill that happened Jan. 9 and led to a several-day water usage ban for more than 100,000 West Virginia American Water customers in parts of nine counties.

The chemical is called PPH and is used in conjunction with the MCHM that already had been identified. MCHM is used to clean coal, and PPH makes it even more fluid.

State Homeland Security officials learned the information Tuesday morning after Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the leak, handed over some documents.

The chemical has not been detected in tests that have been conducted by the U.S. National Guard.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's staff is still waiting to get information from the Centers for Disease Control.

This latest round of testing will continue. If any information is released, we will pass it along to you.

At this point, officials say no new water bans or restrictions have been put into place as a result of this new information.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.


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