CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Because of the public interest in the cleanup of the Freedom Industries site, where a chemical spill last year contaminated the drinking water of approximately 300,000 people, documents related to the company’s participation in the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Voluntary Remediation Program are being made available online. They can be accessed on the DEP’s website here.
All program documents are also available at the Kanawha County Clerk’s Office and at DEP’s Charleston headquarters where they can be viewed in person by appointment. Documents can also be obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by emailing DEPFOIA@wv.gov.
Freedom’s initial site investigation report, the first document required by the Voluntary Remediation Agreement, was received on April 30 and is still under review by the agency’s Office of Environmental Remediation. This document contains lab data on soil and water samples, and information about soil excavation and disposal and stormwater collection and disposal activities up to the point the site entered the program.
Freedom also, on April 22, submitted an interim measures work plan, which was not approved by DEP. An addendum to that plan, which is still under review, was turned in on May 1. All of these documents, including the document detailing the agency’s review of the initial interim measures work plan, can be found on the web page.
It is important to note that no cleanup plan for the site has yet been submitted or approved. The Voluntary Remediation Agreement outlines several steps to be completed, including health and ecological risk assessments. According to the agreement, the remedial action work plan is due the first quarter of 2016 and the entire project should be complete later that year, although DEP is hopeful that the cleanup can be completed sooner than that.
Even though a remediation plan has not yet been submitted, DEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman has stressed to Freedom’s chief restructuring officer and environmental consulting firm that there can be no risk of MCHM again getting into the drinking water intake, which is less than two miles downstream from the site. Huffman and other DEP officials have indicated that the best way to ensure that risk is eliminated is to remove as much contaminated soil as possible.
Comments about Freedom’s involvement in the Voluntary Remediation Program can be emailed to DEPVRPComments@wv.gov. While agency employees won’t be responding to individual comments, DEP representatives will review each comment and take any concerns raised under consideration during the remediation process.
For more DEP news and information, go to www.dep.wv.gov. Also, be sure to connect with the agency on all social media platforms. Follow @DEPWV on Twitter and find us on YouTube by searching “Environment Matters.” For specific information about the Adopt-A-Highway, West Virginia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), West Virginia NonPoint Source and Youth Environmental programs, connect on Facebook.