DEP issues 2 violations to Freedom contractor

March 14, 2014 by Dave Boucher

Federal authorities recently inspected St. Albans-based Diversified Services. The shipping company was issued two notices of violation by the state Department of Environmental Protection today.

The state Department of Environmental Protection issued two notices of violation today to a company hired by the business at the heart of the recent chemical leak to haul hundreds of thousands of gallons of the chemical involved in the leak.

Diversified Services, a St. Albans-based shipping company, illegally released an unknown amount of MCHM and potentially other chemicals into the Kanawha River, according to the DEP release. MCHM is the chemical that constituted the bulk of the material that leaked in early January from a storage tank owned by Freedom Industries into the Elk River.

After discovering the spill Jan. 9, the state ordered Freedom to ship the remaining chemicals offsite. It hired Diversified, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for the work, according to documents filed by Freedom in accordance with its declaration of bankruptcy.

Last week federal and state authorities swarmed Diversified’s grounds in St. Albans. The DEP responded to a report from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency to a report of a “sheen” on the water in a drainage system near Diversified’s facility, according to the DEP press release.

According to the DEP:

Test results from the sampling show the chemical MCHM was present in the drainage system, which empties into a tributary of the Kanawha River.

It is not known how much material got into the drainage system or the exact cause and timeframe of the release. There are no public water intakes immediately downstream of the site.

Diversified violated the terms of its permit that says it can only release stormwater, according to the DEP press release. The other violation levied by the DEP against Diversified was for not doing everything in its power to prevent the release of materials that could negatively affect the health of the community.

Diversified is in the midst of it’s own problems with federal authorities as well.

The company is also mentioned in Freedom’s plan for remediation and demolishing the Etowah River Terminal facility, the site of the leak on the Elk River. The DEP recently told the Daily Mail the plan can move forward without Diversified.

Freedom was supposed to have all of its chemicals shipped from the site and have started deconstruction by Saturday. Although at least 200,000 gallons of chemicals or “tank heel”–the material in tanks that can be pumped out through normal means–remained at the essentially unchanged site, the DEP says Freedom has satisfactorily met its order.





Leave a Reply