Chemical Spill

Freedom Industries
AP

Residents and businesses in nine West Virginia counties left without tap water during a 2014 chemical spill can start filing claims.

According to a website set up to handle claims, forms were being accepted both online and by mail started Wednesday.

Elk River
Malepheasant / wikimedia Commons

Monday marks the third anniversary of the Elk River chemical spill that left more than 300,000 West Virginians without usable drinking water for more than a week.  The leak  originated at Freedom Industries just outside of Charleston.

Elk River
Malepheasant / wikimedia Commons

Lawyers say a tentative deal has been reached with West Virginia American Water Co in a class-action case over the company's handling of the 2014 water crisis in the Kanawha Valley.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports no details were made public, but a judge has scheduled a Monday hearing when attorneys said more information is expected to be available.

A federal judge has again postponed the trial against the water company accused of insufficiently safeguarding West Virginia's capital city from a chemical spill that polluted the drinking water of thousands of people in 2014.

According to court officials, U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver has moved jury selection from Friday to Monday.

Elk River
Malepheasant / wikimedia Commons

A month before a class-action lawsuit over a 2014 chemical spill is set to go to trial, a federal judge has declined to throw out allegations that partly blame chemical maker Eastman Chemical for polluting 300,000 people's drinking water.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. in Charleston also ruled Monday that residents, businesses and workers suing over the January 2014 Elk River spill and the subsequent water crisis cannot pursue claims against American Water Workers Company Inc., the parent of West Virginia American Water, whose customers' drinking water supply was contaminated in the incident.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Source water protection plans are mandates water utilities are required to follow to keep drinking water safe. However, before 2014, following these plans in West Virginia was voluntary. Since the January 2014 Elk River chemical spill, though, legislation was put in place requiring about 125 water systems in the state to have these plans. The law also made what was already on the books much stronger.

Friday, July 1 is the deadline for water and sewer utilities to submit their new plans to the state Bureau for Public Health. Liz McCormick has been following this story and brings us a look into how two utilities – large and small – have been dealing with the new regulatory landscape.

water faucet
wikimedia

A federal judge is delaying the trial involving a lawsuit filed against a water company and a manufacturer that sold a chemical to a company involved in a massive spill in Charleston.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver told attorneys during a monthly status hearing last week he would need more time to review and rule on several motions. The trial had been scheduled to start July 12.

Source Water Protection Plans, Water, Shepherdstown, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, WVDEP
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After a chemical spill in the Kanawha Valley left more than 300,000 people with contaminated drinking water for days, state lawmakers passed legislation in an effort to prevent a similar crisis. One part of that legislation requires most water utilities in the state to draft source water protection plans – with public input. West Virginia Public Broadcasting attended a public forum in Shepherdstown Thursday night aimed at educating the community about the plans.

WCHS-TV

A judge says he wants more information before he'll approve a class-action settlement stemming from a 2014 chemical spill in West Virginia that contaminated drinking water supplies.

The case involves Kanawha Valley residents and businesses and two former top officials from Freedom Industries.

Elk River
Malepheasant / wikimedia Commons

A former owner of Freedom Industries has been sentenced to three years of probation and a $20,000 fine for a 2014 chemical spill that fouled the drinking water supply of 300,000 West Virginians.

Charles Herzing was sentenced Tuesday in Charleston federal court. He's the second of six former Freedom officials to be sentenced on pollution charges.

Ibrahim.ID / wikimedia Commons

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing leading up to several criminal sentencings surrounding a massive chemical spill.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston in Charleston scheduled the Jan. 27 hearing in the Freedom Industries cases.

East Liverpool River-Rail Terminal Co. in Columbiana County, Ohio, across from Chester, West Virginia.
East Liverpool River-Rail Terminal Co. Facebook page

On Friday, Jan. 15, emergency officials confirmed a chemical leak into the Ohio River in the area of Chester, West Virginia and East Liverpool, Ohio. The leak came from East Liverpool River-Rail Terminal Co.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia regulators are concerned about construction debris found buried at the site of a 2014 chemical spill.

Department of Environmental Protection project manager Dave Long tells the Charleston Gazette-Mail that a contractor found the debris in a fill area at the Freedom Industries site. He says the fill area was thought to contain rock.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s well-known what happened in the Kanawha Valley on January 9, 2014. A massive chemical leak into the Elk River left tap water unusable for 300,000 West Virginians for as many as ten days. The 2014 legislative session had just begun, and in response, lawmakers passed a bill that would require all aboveground storage tanks in the state be registered and regulated under the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Freedom Industries
AP

 Attorneys for two former executives charged in a chemical spill say their clients can't get a fair trial in West Virginia.

Attorneys for former Freedom Industries officials Gary Southern and Dennis Farrell asked a federal judge on Monday to move their trial to a district outside the state. The defense motion says a survey found an overwhelming presumption of guilt among potential jurors.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

State regulators say Freedom Industries "embarked upon a scheme" to get concessions on cleanup obligations at the site of last year's chemical spill.

In Charleston bankruptcy court Monday, the Department of Environmental Protection objected to Freedom's liquidation proposal.

Freedom Industries
AP

Federal prosecutors say two ex-Freedom Industries officials have agreed to testify for the government in two remaining chemical spill cases.

In Charleston federal court filings Tuesday, prosecutors wrote that plea agreements with William Tis and Charles Herzing say they're willing to provide testimony in the cases against fellow ex-Freedom officials Gary Southern and Dennis Farrell.

Freedom Industries
AP

 Lawyers for businesses and people affected by a massive chemical spill last year say a settlement to fund community projects is no longer being considered.

In June 2014, lawyers for groups affected by the Freedom Industries spill proposed the money go toward projects benefitting the public, like health monitoring or more water testing.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 Prosecutors are seeking plea hearings for Freedom Industries and two former owners facing charges related to a West Virginia chemical spill.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip H. Wright filed motions Wednesday asking the court to schedule hearings for the company, Charles Herzing and William Tis. Wright also requested plea hearings for two lower-level employees.

All the defendants are charged with violating the federal Clean Water Act. They are expected to plead guilty in the case.

Attorneys for Herzing and Tis didn't immediately return telephone messages Wednesday.

Freedom Industries
AP

Four former executives of a West Virginia chemical company are asking a judge to delay their trials on charges stemming from a spill. 

Attorneys for former Freedom Industries President Gary Southern and former owners Dennis Farrell, Charles Herzing and William Tis requested the delays in motions filed last week.

All of the motions say defense attorneys need more time to review a massive amount of files provided by prosecutors on flash drives.

Freedom Industries
AP

The former owner of a chemical company that fouled drinking water used by hundreds of thousands of West Virginia residents wants his trial delayed.

Attorneys for Charles Herzing cite the heft of documents they must review and Herzing's scheduled New Zealand vacation.

The Daily Mail reports that the request filed Tuesday seeks a June trial date.

The filing said the government has provided nearly 3 million pages of documents that must be reviewed.

WOWK

A judge has heard arguments over recusing prosecutors from a case charging former executives in a chemical spill.

In Charleston federal court Monday, ex-Freedom Industries executives Gary Southern and Dennis Farrell claimed U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office and family members were victims of the company's spill and have conflicts of interest. Last January's spill left 300,000 residents without tap water for days.

AP

The deadline is approaching to submit aboveground storage tank inspections required by a new state law to protect public water supplies.