CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Freedom Industries is negotiating with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) to enter the agency’s Voluntary Remediation Program to address environmental conditions at the site of the 2014 crude MCHM spill.
Under the program’s Voluntary Remediation Agreement (VRA), Freedom would work with the DEP to identify human health and ecological risks associated with potential future uses of the site; establish applicable remediation standards; and ensure that those standards are maintained. Upon completion of the remediation, a final report will be submitted to OER for review and approval.
The Jan. 9, 2014, MCHM spill, which also involved a second material known as PPH, resulted in the contamination of a drinking water system that serves 300,000 West Virginia residents. In response to the spill, Freedom was ordered to cease operation of the site as a storage area, and to empty and remove all aboveground storage tanks from the site. The company was also ordered to remediate the site and DEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman has repeatedly said that the remediation plan must ensure there is no future threat to drinking water.
As part of a consent order with the DEP finalized in November, Freedom can complete the remediation through the OER’s Voluntary Remediation Program if accepted into the program. However, the consent order also states that if Freedom is not accepted into the program, withdraws from the program or otherwise fails to complete the program requirements, the company must still complete the cleanup under a plan approved by DEP. Freedom’s application for the program was accepted by OER late last month and the project was assigned number VRP #15017.
The site, located at 1015 Barlow Drive in Charleston, includes approximately 4.87 acres. Prior to being used as a chemical storage and distribution facility, it was a bulk petroleum storage area. A Certificate of Completion was issued to Pennzoil Quaker State on Dec. 7, 2004, for cleanup of contamination associated with petroleum bulk storage operations. That work was completed under voluntary remediation project VRP #04506.
Future site use is unknown, but is anticipated to be commercial/industrial.
Questions and comments regarding Freedom’s Voluntary Remediation and Redevelopment Program application and the Voluntary Remediation Program in general will be received at a public meeting at the Charleston Civic Center on March 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. Freedom is hosting the meeting, but DEP officials will be on hand to talk about the program.
West Virginia’s Voluntary Remediation and Redevelopment Act encourages voluntary cleanups of contaminated sites, as well as redevelopment of abandoned and under-utilized properties, with an objective of counteracting the lack of development on sites with contamination or perceived contamination. By providing financial incentives to invest in brownfields, this approach protects communities and the environment while still promoting economic development in West Virginia.
Questions regarding the Voluntary Remediation Program or the application should be directed to either DEP Project Manager David Long (WVDEP—OER, 601 57th Street SE, Charleston, WV 25304; 304-926-0499, ext. 1265) or Licensed Remediation Specialist Ira Buchanan (ARCADIS U.S. Inc., 111-D Sanders Lane, Bluefield, VA 24605; 800-897-1063).