Curtis Tate Published

Union Carbide Seeks Water Pollution Permit For Site In Court Case

An industrial site is filled with construction debris and surrounded by vegetation, viewed from overhead by a drone.Troy Rankin / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Union Carbide has sought a water pollution permit for a facility in South Charleston where the company has been in federal court for several years.

Union Carbide applied to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit for its Massey Railyard. 

The application, dated June 26, was filed in U.S. District Court in Charleston in an ongoing lawsuit against Union Carbide by the Courtland Co., which owns property in South Charleston.

Courtland first filed suit against Union Carbide in 2018 over water pollution from the Massey Railyard and the adjacent Filmont Landfill. In its latest filing, Union Carbide indicated it also will submit a permit application for the landfill.

Senior Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. ruled last year that the landfill was an illegal open dump and that Union Carbide violated the Clean Water Act by not seeking permits under federal law.

Courtland seeks civil penalties of $1.4 billion. Copenhaver has yet to issue a ruling. Union Carbide is pursuing a voluntary remediation of the Filmont site with state regulators. The site was added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund database in 2022.

Union Carbide’s application for Massey has been submitted to WVDEP, and the company plans to submit another one for Filmont. At some point, the state agency will publish the applications and accept public comment.

The eight-acre Massey site discharges an average of nearly 15,000 gallons of runoff per day, according to the application. The application includes a long list of pollutants. Union Carbide checked a box that says “all not present.”

It also asks whether the application is for a “new facility.” Union Carbide checked “yes,” even though the railyard has been active since the 1960s. Union Carbide, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, and WVDEP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.