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Containment trench overflows at Freedom site on Elk River

Inspectors for the state Department of Environmental Protection were called to the site of a potential spill Thursday night at the Freedom Industries site on the Elk River in Charleston.

According to a DEP press release, a DEP inspector noticed water overflowing from a containment trench at the cleanup site about 5 p.m. Thursday. A sump pump in place to pump overflow into a storage tank at the site had stopped working, allowing an undetermined amount of storm runoff to spill into the Elk River.

Thousands of gallons of the chemical Crude MCHM were released into the Elk River from the site on Jan. 9, poisoning drinking water for 300,000 West Virginia American Water customers and leading to the shutdown of the site and a massive cleanup effort.

The DEP inspector who discovered the problem was able to restart the sump pump and stop the overflow, DEP officials said.

State officials are as yet unsure whether more MCHM was released during the Thursday overflow.

Samples of the water are being taken from the trench, from the intake of West Virginia American Water's treatment plant just downstream, and from treated water.

Results of the water tests are expected this morning.

Reach Rusty Marks


or 304-348-1215.

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