Freedom Industries Receives $900K Fine

Feb 4, 2016

A bankrupt chemical company responsible for a spill that contaminated a West 

Credit Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  Virginia river and fouled the drinking water supply of 300,000 residents has been sentenced to the maximum possible penalty on pollution charges.

But a federal judge in Charleston said his sentence Thursday of a $900,000 fine and five years' probation for Freedom Industries was symbolic and likely would never be paid.

Freedom filed for bankruptcy eight days after the January 2014 spill. A federal bankruptcy judge approved a liquidation plan in October.

At a separate hearing Thursday, former plant manager Michael Burdette became the third Freedom official to be fined and sentenced to probation.

The spill of a coal-cleaning agent into the Elk River prompted a tap-water ban in nine counties for up to 10 days.