Cease Operations Order Issued to Freedom Industries

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

DEP Letter to Freedom Industries

Cease and Desist Order

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Water and Waste Management has issued a Cease Operations Order to Freedom Industries in connection with the company’s leak of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol into the Elk River.

Also, the WVDEP’s Division of Air Quality has issued a Notice of Violation to Freedom Industries for causing statutory air pollution by discharging MCHM into the air.

According to a press release, the Division of Air Quality initiated an investigation Thursday morning following citizen complaints of objectionable odors near and downriver from the plant.

At 11:10 a.m. Thursday, DAQ personnel discovered the source of these odors was from a leaking Crude MCHM tank, and that no spill containment measures had been initiated. The crew also observed that an accumulated pool of MCHM was seeping through a containment dike.

The agency says the release occurred approximately 1.5 miles upstream from the intake of the local public water supply and the spilled material has caused conditions not allowable in the Elk River by creating odors in the vicinity of state waters, by requiring an unreasonable degree of treatment for the production of potable water, and by creating a sheen on the surface of the water.

As part of the DWWM order, Freedom Industries must Cease and Desist any further receipt of material to be stored within the faulty secondary containment and take all necessary measures to contain, recover and remediate the material that has escaped the facility.

The facility is also ordered to immediately conduct an integrity test of all the above ground storage tanks and secondary containment structures for the entire facility.

Prior to resuming operations, the company must provide documentation on the integrity and soundness of all storage and containment structures.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has also started an investigation into the spill to assess potential worker health and safety issues.

OSHA says in a news release that it doesn't have a history with Freedom.

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