[January 27, 2014](Reuters) — The company whose
storage tank spilled a chemical that tainted the water supply of 300,000
people in West Virginia must begin removing its above-ground storage
tanks by March 15, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered on Saturday.
Freedom Industries must dismantle and remove 17 tanks and related
equipment at its coal processing plant in Charleston, West Virginia,
under Tomblin's directive, part of a consent order signed by the
company's president and the state's Department of Environmental
Tomblin announced the order in a statement posted on the governor's
office website on Saturday. Freedom Industries has agreed not to
contest the state's jurisdiction in the matter, the governor said.
A January 9 spill of the 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or crude
MCHM, into the Elk River prompted the state to impose a ban on the
use of tap water for 300,000 people in the Charleston region. The
ban lasted as long as 10 days for some residents.
The spill from a Freedom Industries tank was about a mile upriver
from the area's main water plant, West Virginia American Water, a
unit of American Water Works Company Inc.
Tomblin declared a state of emergency while the chemical, used in
coal processing, was flushed out of the water system.
Three of the 17 tanks at the Freedom Industries facility contained
crude MCHM and the chemical PPH, and all three tanks are now empty,
according to Tomblin's statement. Material in the remaining 14 tanks
contain calcium chloride and glycerin, the statement said.
Freedom Industries, a maker of specialty chemicals, filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 17.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy; editing by Mary Wisniewski and David