FREEDOM INDUSTRIES BREAKS SILENCE: Don’t know how leak happened - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

FREEDOM INDUSTRIES BREAKS SILENCE: Doesn’t know how leak happened

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Gary Southern, president of Freedom Industries, addressed the media from his company's Charleston plant 24 hours after an undetermined amount of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, which is used in coal washing and preparation, leaked from a containment area into the Elk River and surrounding soil.

Southern, while sipping bottled water, said it had been "an extremely hard day."

Southern said all the material had been moved off the site, and he expressed a sincere apology for the situation.

"Our mission now is to move to the next phase of remediation … taking the contaminated dirt off site," Southern said.

Southern said the leak occurred from 35,000 gallon steel storage tank, and that the facility operates around the clock. He said there are not many long periods of time when the tanks are left unattended.

(KANAWHA COUNTY COMMISSION PRESIDENT: CHEMICAL LEAK QUESTIONS REMAIN)

Southern said the company was aware of the leak at about 10:30 a.m. Jan. 9. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection issued a statement Jan. 10 saying the company never alerted authorities to the leak. The DEP detected it after area residents reported a foul odor in the area.

If you need access to water click here and get more information on the leak at our dedicated water crisis page by clicking here