Freedom Industries told the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection today that the tank that leaked materials into the Elk River from the company’s Ettowah Terminal on Jan. 9 contained two chemicals – Crude MCHM and PPH.
Freedom was responding to an Order issued by the WVDEP this morning demanding that the company, by this afternoon, disclose all materials spilled during a release from Storage Tank 396 at its Elk River facility. The spill shut down the water supply for close to 300,000 West Virginia residents.
The WVDEP Order arose from Freedom’s disclosure to the WVDEP on Jan. 21 that another chemical (PPH), in addition to Crude MCHM, was contained in the above-ground storage tank that leaked materials into the Elk River.
“PPH is added to the Crude MCHM to act as an ‘extender’ in that the Crude MCHM is available in limited, sporadic quantities,” Freedom said in its response letter to the WVDEP. “At the time of the release on Jan. 9, the blend in Tank No. 396, after extensive calculation, was approximately 88.5 percent Crude MCHM, and 7.3 percent PPH by weight and 4.2 percent water by weight. Our records and internal investigations indicate that there were no other materials in Tank 396 at the time of the release.”
Freedom’s letter was signed by Freedom President Gary Southern.
Freedom told the WVDEP on Jan. 21 that the storage tank contained roughly 300 gallons of PPH that it adds to its Crude MCHM mixture. This material was not included in the initial information regarding the composition of the spilled materials. Failure to accurately report “the type or types and quantity or quantities of the material or materials therein” is a violation of state code.
Today’s Order gave Freedom until 4 p.m. to provide any and all information fully describing the composition of the materials spilled into the Elk River on Jan. 9.
“Having this revelation so late in the game is completely unacceptable,” WVDEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman said earlier today. “We have ordered Freedom to reveal any other information they have regarding the contents of the tank that leaked.”
“Having to order them to provide such obvious information is indicative of the continued decline of their credibility,” Huffman said.
Compliance with the terms and conditions of this Order did not in any way relieve Freedom Industries, Inc. 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 this Order would subject Freedom Industries, Inc. to additional enforcement action in accordance with the applicable law.
Read Freedom's response here