CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia government agencies have filed a nearly $1.8 million claim in the bankruptcy of Freedom Industries, seeking repayment of money they spent responding to Freedom’s January chemical leak, which contaminated the drinking water for 300,000 residents in Charleston and counties surrounding Kanawha County.
Lawyers for the state filed claims on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Resources, various agencies with the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, and the Lottery Commission.
The claims “cover costs incurred” by those agencies “as a result of the Elk River Spill for the protection of the safety and health of the citizens of West Virginia and visitors and travelers to this state,” the filing says.
The largest single claim was for more than $940,000, filed on behalf of the DHHR. The agency said the amount is to cover costs for employee overtime, water, and meals and other supplies during the water crisis that followed the Jan. 9 leak at Freedom’s Elk River chemical tank farm.
The DHHR also said it incurred costs, along with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office, for the West Virginia Testing Assessment Project, a program to test the water supply and try to investigate the impact of the leak.
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at DMAPS said it had incurred expenses of nearly $300,000. The agency said it oversaw the “state-level emergency management of the water crisis” and “provided significant assistance” throughout the event.
The West Virginia National Guard cited expenses of more than $373,000, mostly for its help in collecting water samples.