Cumberland Times-News

Local News

June 16, 2014

Freedom to staff spill site around the clock

Two stormwater overflows occur in Elk River

— CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The company that spilled chemicals into West Virginia’s largest water supply in January will staff the site around the clock to prevent further discharges during cleanup.

After spilling stormwater into the Elk River twice last week, Freedom Industries told the state Department of Environmental Protection it would keep contractors at its Charleston site 24 hours a day. The company also plans to double its capacity to pump stormwater from the trench that spilled.

Regulators said Thursday’s spill sent a small amount of water into the river. A 50-minute overflow occurred Friday during a thunderstorm.

Initial violations include allowing a discharge from an unpermitted outlet and not implementing an approved sump management plan, per state orders.

The trench’s job is to catch the chemical so it doesn’t reach the river. In both spills, West Virginia American Water said it detected no traces of the chemical in treated and untreated water at its treatment plant.

Water company spokeswoman Laura Jordan told The Charleston Gazette in an email later Saturday that the company shut down its pumps that draw water into the treatment plant for three hours Friday night as a precaution. The company’s 1,900-mile distribution system was unaffected.

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