Associated Press Published

Ex-Freedom Industries Employees Plead Guilty to Pollution Charge


Two former employees at Freedom Industries have pleaded guilty to a pollution charge in last year’s chemical spill into a river in West Virginia.

Ex-plant manager Michael Burdette and environmental consultant Robert Reynolds entered the pleas to negligent discharge of a pollutant Wednesday during separate hearings in federal court in Charleston. They each face up to a year in prison when they are sentenced June 24.

The January 2014 spill of a coal-cleaning agent into the Elk River contaminated drinking water for 300,000 residents for days.

Ex-owners Charles Herzing and William Tis pleaded guilty Monday to causing an unlawful discharge into the river.

Ex-Freedom owner Dennis Farrell and former President Gary Southern face trial later this year in the spill. Southern also faces charges related to Freedom’s bankruptcy.