Freedom Industries ordered to empty remaining tanks


The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Water and Waste Management (DWWM) is requiring Freedom Industries Inc. to remove the contents in the 11 remaining above-ground storage tanks at its Etowah Terminal in Charleston.

The contents of three other tanks, including the one that leaked on Jan. 9, have already been removed and relocated to another facility. Those three tanks contained 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM).

Earlier Friday, the WVDEP’s DWWM issued a Cease Operations Order to Freedom Industries. The agency’s Division of Air Quality also issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Freedom for causing statutory air pollution by discharging MCHM into the air. Both of those orders are still in effect.

According to the order issued Friday night, Freedom Industries must begin, within 24 hours, removing all material from all above-ground storage tanks and store the material in an off-site area which provides adequate secondary containment.

Also within 24 hours, Freedom Industries must submit for approval an appropriate plan of corrective action which at a minimum shall include, among other things, a detailed plan to appropriately implement a remediation of all contaminated soil and/or groundwater and a plan and schedule for the ultimate disposition of the products stored in these tanks.

The Etowah Terminal was the site of a Jan. 9 spill during which a tank leaked an unknown quantity of MCHM into secondary containment. A portion of that material escaped secondary containment and reached the Elk River.

On Jan. 10, WVDEP continued its investigation of the release of MCHM from Freedom Industries’ facility. During the course of the investigation, the following was observed and documented:

In addition to the three above-ground storage tanks containing MCHM, 11 additional tanks were reported inside the same failed secondary containment area in which the MCHM leaked. The other materials being stored in the additional tanks include Calcium Chloride and Glycerin.

Freedom Industries has removed most of the MCHM from the above ground storage tanks and staged it off-site at Poca Blending, LLC in four large Baker tanks.

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Tom Aluise