Environmental Forensics Expert Witnesses & West Virginia Chemical Leak

Environmental forensics expert witnesses may consult on environmental health and safety, soil/groundwater investigations, above ground and underground storage sites, and associated matters. In the news, hundreds of thousands of West Virginia residents have been without tap water since Thursday after a chemical leak contaminated their water supply. On Friday the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Water and Waste Management issued a Cease Operations Order to Freedom Industries, Inc. and is now requiring the company to remove the contents in the 11 remaining above-ground storage tanks at its Etowah Terminal in Charleston. The chemical MCHM leaked from tanks and entered the Elk River on Thursday and then a water treatment facility. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection reports:

According to the order issued Friday night, Freedom Industries must begin, within 24 hours, removing all material from all above-ground storage tanks and store the material in an off-site area which provides adequate secondary containment.

Also within 24 hours, Freedom Industries must submit for approval an appropriate plan of corrective action which at a minimum shall include, among other things, a detailed plan to appropriately implement a remediation of all contaminated soil and/or groundwater and a plan and schedule for the ultimate disposition of the products stored in these tanks.
On Jan. 10, WVDEP continued its investigation of the release of MCHM from Freedom Industries’ facility. During the course of the investigation, the following was observed and documented:

In addition to the three above-ground storage tanks containing MCHM, 11 additional tanks were reported inside the same failed secondary containment area in which the MCHM leaked. The other materials being stored in the additional tanks include Calcium Chloride and Glycerin.

Freedom Industries has removed most of the MCHM from the above ground storage tanks and staged it off-site at Poca Blending, LLC in four large Baker tanks.