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Ex-Freedom Industries Owner Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail, $20,000 Fine

Dave Mistich
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A former executive of a chemical storage facility in West Virginia has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and order to pay a $20,000 fine. The charges stemmed a January 2014 chemical spill that left some 300,000 area residents without water for days.

Former Freedom Industries owner Dennis Farrell will serve time for federal pollution violations.

Four other ex-Freedom officials have been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay fines.

Ex-company President Gary Southern is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

Federal prosecutors brought the case against the company and its top executives after an estimated 7,500 gallons of a coal cleaning chemical leaked from storage tanks and into the Elk River.

The company filed for bankruptcy eight days after the spill. It’s been fined $900,000, although a federal judge said that fine was symbolic due to outstanding debts.

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