UPDATE: DEP says no overflows occurred as a result of heavy rain - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: DEP says no overflows occurred as a result of heavy rain June 19

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UPDATE 5:10 p.m., Thursday:

The DEP said Thursday’s brief burst of heavy rain did not cause any issues at the Freedom Industries spill site.

DEP said after the two overflows of a stormwater collection trench, corrective actions were implemented by the contractors working with Freedom’s bankruptcy court-appointed restructuring team.

The measures taken included raising the berm along low sports of the trench, installing an extra back-up pump so there are now a total of three pumps along the trench.

DEP also said the site is being monitored 24/7.

The DEP said they will continue to closely supervise all activities at the site.

Original story:


In a story that has had many twists and turns, some say more blame needs to be put on those responsible for cleaning up the Freedom Industries above-ground storage tank site.


The contractor in charge of the site, Civil and Environmental Consultants, Inc., says allegations that the overflow events were its fault are untrue.

Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said June 17 Civil and Environmental Consultants, Inc.’s ability to “do the work” came into question after the two incidents occurred on June 12 and 13.

“The problem is the contractor, their ability to adequately do this work has come into question as a result of what happened,” Huffman said.

Huffman, on June 18, told WOWK-TV the best way to gain the public’s trust back was to bring in another contractor.

Huffman said the plan was to hire someone local, who has more incentive in keeping the water clean.

For now, CEC continues to be in charge.

On June 19, the company said in a news release allegations from Huffman about the characterizations of CEC’s responsibilities were “inaccurate.”

CEC said “as documented in a Status Report prepared by Freedom Industries’ Chief Restructuring Officer (CRO) Mark Welch dated June 17, 2014, the release that occurred on June 12, 2014, was the result of improper execution of the DEP-approved Interim Remedial Measures (IRMs), improper operation of a collection pump, and inadequate monitoring of the performance of the DEP-approved IRMs.”

According to CEC, "the second release, which occurred on June 13, 2014, was the result of a thunderstorm that exceeded the capacity of the collection system. This exceedance of the collection system’s capacity was exacerbated by the improper execution of the DEP-approved IRMs. CEC is not responsible for the improper execution of the DEP-approved IRMs, as CEC’s role was that of Freedom Industries’ environmental consultant only. 

As Freedom Industries’ environmental consultant, CEC is responsible for “assessment of the impacts of the January 2014 release and the development of the remedial action plan to mitigate those impacts.”

Read CEC's news release HERE.

The company said despite their lack of culpability for the recent releases, they will work “cooperatively” with Freedom and the DEP to “transition a new environmental consultant onto the project.”

DEP said on June 19, in response to the allegations from CEC, they had the same stance and were offering no additional comments.

A spokesperson for DEP said “the DEP has chosen to let the concerns expressed by Secretary Huffman on June 17 stand; with no further comment.”