Associated Press Published

Feds: W.Va. Spill Company Knew About Defects for a Decade


Federal investigators say a company that spilled chemicals into the water supply for 300,000 people knew about some facility defects for more than a decade.

An FBI affidavit unsealed Wednesday says Freedom Industries employees were aware of a cracked, insufficient containment wall when a subsidiary bought the facility in 2001. A 2008 inspection noted the deteriorated wall. It was never fixed.

The affidavit says that in 2008, Freedom officials planned to take the old tank that leaked and two others out of commission. They never did, and the tanks weren’t ever inspected properly.

Six former Freedom officials and the company itself face federal pollution charges. Former Freedom President Gary Southern also faces fraud charges related to Freedom’s bankruptcy case.

Freedom’s leak last January spurred a nine-county tap-water ban for days.