Freedom Industries: More like 10K gallons of chemicals leaked in - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Freedom Industries: More like 10K gallons of chemicals leaked into Elk River

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When a Freedom Industries tank leaked into the Elk River Jan. 9 leaving 300,000 people without usable tap water in parts of nine Southern West Virginia counties, state officials said between 3,000 and 5,000 gallons spilled.

Days later, it was revealed 7,500 gallons of MCHM leaked from the tank. It took 12 days after the leak for Freedom Industries to announce the chemical spilled was actually a blend of Crude MCHM and PPH.

Jan. 27 Freedom Industries revised its estimate to approximately 10,000 gallons of chemicals having leaked from its storage tank, according to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, but the company was unsure how much spilled into the Elk River.

Freedom said it recovered about 1,272 gallons of the MCHM/PPH blend in absorbent booms and other control devices at its Etowah Terminal site.

"We are not making any judgment about its (estimate) accuracy," WVDEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman said in a news release. "We felt it was important to provide to the public what the company has provided the WVDEP in writing."

Huffman said the WVDEP is continuing to review the company's calculation.

"This is the first calculation that has been provided concerning the amount of materials that spilled on Jan. 9," he said. "This new calculation does not change any of our protocols in dealing with this spill, nor does it affect the ongoing remediation efforts.

"Our actions have never been dependent on what Freedom has reported to us. From the start, we have acted aggressively to contain the spill and remediate the site."

Freedom indicated to the WVDEP it had 110,375 gallons of the Crude MCHM/PPH blend in three tanks at its Elk River facility Jan. 8. All of the material was transferred to the company's Poca Blending facility in Nitro.

"This figure represents the MCHM/PPH blend that was removed from the three tanks after the incident (i.e. which was not released) and the residual released MCHM/PPH blend that was recovered and transferred to the Poca facility by Jan. 21," Freedom's response to the WVDEP reads. "The difference between the value from the morning of Jan. 9 and the value from Jan. 21 is 10,142 gallons.

"We therefore estimate that approximately 10,000 gallons of MCHM/PPH blend was released the morning of Jan. 9."