Freedom Industries Revises Estimates of Materials Involved in Chemical Spill

Jan 27, 2014

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Freedom Industries has once again revised their estimate of the amount of materials involved in the January 9 chemical spill into the Elk River.

In a news release issued Monday afternoon, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said Freedom now estimates the MCHM/PPH blend involved in the spill at 10,000 gallons. That number is up from earlier estimates of 7,500 gallons, which was also increased from the earliest estimates of 2,000-5,000 gallons when the spill was first discovered.

“We are not making any judgment about its (estimate) accuracy,” WV DEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman said.

“We felt it was important to provide to the public what the company has provided the WVDEP in writing. We are still reviewing the calculation and this is something that will be researched further during the course of this investigation."

Huffman said the new calculation does not change the DEP's  protocols in dealing with this spill, nor does it affect their ongoing remediation efforts.

"Our actions have never been dependent on what Freedom has reported to us. From the start, we have acted aggressively to contain the spill and remediate the site,” he said.

In its response to the WVDEP, Freedom said it had 110,375 gallons of Crude MCHM/PPD blend in three tanks on Jan. 8 at its Elk River facility. After the release was discovered the following morning, Freedom said it began emptying the three tanks and recovering the released MCHM/PPH blend. All of the material was transferred to Freedom’s Poca Blending facility in Nitro.

Freedom said it “measured” the MCHM/PPH blend that was being stored in six tanks at Poca Blending on Jan. 21 and determined there was 100,233 gallons in the six tanks.

“This figure represents the MCHM/PPH blend that was removed from the three tanks after the incident (i.e. which was not released) and the residual released MCHM/PPH blend that was recovered and transferred to the Poca facility by Jan. 21,” Freedom’s response said.

“The difference between the value from the morning of Jan. 9 and the value from Jan. 21 is 10,142 gallons. We therefore estimate that that approximately 10,000 gallons of MCHM/PPH blend was released the morning of Jan. 9.”