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Freedom Industries ordered to dismantle, remove tanks

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today, Jan. 25, ordered Freedom Industries to begin, by March 15, 2014, the process of dismantling, removing and properly disposing of all of its above ground storage tanks, as well as associated piping and machinery, at its Etowah River Terminal in Charleston.

Gov. Tomblin’s directive is included in Consent Order 8034 issued Friday by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and signed by Freedom Industries. Gov. Tomblin and Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman began discussing the need to dismantle the tanks on Jan. 10, 2014.

The Etowah River Terminal, located on the Elk River, is the site of a Jan. 9 chemical spill that leaked Crude MCHM from a storage tank into the Elk and shut down the drinking water supply for nearly 300,000 West Virginia residents.

The facility currently has 17 tanks, including three tanks that contained Crude MCHM. The tank that leaked and caused the resulting spill also contained the chemical PPH. All three of those tanks are now empty. Materials in the remaining 14 tanks include Calcium Chloride and Glycerin. All 17 tanks are located within inadequate secondary containment areas that allowed materials to spill into the Elk River.

Gov. Tomblin is ordering Freedom Industries, on or before March 15, 2014, to remove all materials from the remaining 14 tanks at the Elk River facility and store the material off-site in an area which provides adequate secondary containment. The company also must provide the WVDEP with reports detailing the disposition of the materials removed from the tanks.

During the dismantling of the tanks, Freedom Industries is ordered to install measures that ensure that secondary containment is adequate to contain any potential spills resulting from the work. Secondary containment structures cannot be removed until all above ground tanks have been dismantled and removed from the site.

Freedom Industries must take all actions required by the terms and conditions of the Order and agrees it will not contest the state’s jurisdiction regarding the Order.

The state also has the right to take further action against Freedom Industries if compliance with the terms and conditions of the Order does not adequately address violations noted. Also, if any event occurs which causes delay in Freedom Industries meeting the requirements of the Order, the company must prove that the delay was caused by circumstances beyond its reasonable control and could not have been overcome by due diligence.

Compliance with the terms and conditions of the Order does not relieve Freedom Industries 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 the Order may subject Freedom Industries to additional penalties and injunctive relief in accordance with the applicable law.

The Order is subject to a 30-day public comment period. To read the Order it its entirety, click here.

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