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2013 Inspection At Freedom Industries Noted 'Potential Issues'

An evaluation three months before the Jan. 9 chemical spill found that chemical storage tanks at Freedom Industries did not meet industry standards, federal safety inspectors have found.
2013 Inspection At Freedom Industries Noted 'Potential Issues'
Image from: WV Department of Environmental Protection

I have never seen an industrial accident that didn't come down to neglience (frequently criminal) on the part of the owners. (Regulatory capture is so pervasive that safety requirements are really more like suggestions.) So far, that record stands:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An evaluation three months before the Jan. 9 chemical spill found that chemical storage tanks at Freedom Industries did not meet industry standards, federal safety inspectors have found.

Tanks at the Elk River facility were "not necessarily in full compliance with" industry and federal government standards, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said during testimony at a congressional field hearing on the spill.

Perhaps they can explain how a tank with holes in it might have been in compliance? I don't understand.

CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso revealed the October 2013 review of Freedom's tank farm in describing his agency's preliminary research into the spill that polluted the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginians with the chemical Crude MCHM.

"The tanks in use at Freedom Industries were over one-half century old," Moure-Eraso said during a field hearing held by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "Considering the best way to improve the safety of tanks at facilities that have similar tanks in use is an important question."

And yet, you still haven't answered it.

During the hearing, CSB officials also revealed a blown-up poster of a state Department of Environmental Protection photo showing two small holes in the bottom of the MCHM tank that leaked.

The CSB is investigating the Elk River spill to find out what happened and make recommendations to avoid another such incident. The agency does not have authority to issue citations or levy fines, but makes recommendations to other agencies and to industry about ways to improve safety.

In his prepared testimony, Moure-Eraso said that Tank Engineering and Management Consultants, a firm that was hired by Freedom, conducted the October 2013 inspection at the facility.

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