CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Federal hazardous materials investigators spent Tuesday at Freedom Industries in Charleston, looking at the facility where a chemical leaked earlier this month and contaminated the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians.
"The remediation effort has reached a point where we really can start ramping up the investigation side of things," said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, standing at the entrance to the tank farm on Barlow Drive. Goodwin had said previously that his office would investigate the leak, one of several agencies doing so.
"Going in the tank, reviewing where the breach might have occurred, videotaping the inside of the tank, taking pictures -- that kind of thing," Goodwin said about the investigation his office is conducting.
He said his office is already questioning witnesses and reviewing documents collected from the company.
"We're doing as thorough an investigation as we possibly can," he said.
Investigators from the FBI were going into the tank that leaked the coal-processing chemical known as Crude MCHM or 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol. Company officials later said another chemical, PPH, also was released into the Elk River, about a mile and a half above the intake for West Virginia American Water's treatment plant in Charleston.
Freedom has been ordered by Kanawha Circuit Judge James Stucky not to alter or modify "any structure, tank, equipment, material or condition of" its facility, with the exception of changes necessary for stopping and cleaning up the chemical leak. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection a week after the leak.