Freedom Industries Pisses on West Virginia While It's Down:
Let us say, and why not, that it's the end of a bar fight and you've lost. You're laying in the garbage and filth in the alley next to the bar, the laughs of the dudes who just ganged up and stomped your pathetic ass into the concrete echoing off the walls. Goddamn, it hurts like a son of a bitch. While you don't think you'll die, you sure as shit know that something is broken. Maybe a rib from where you got sucker-kicked by that one fat fuck buddy of the guy you had the actual beef with. Maybe your own knuckles from the few licks you did get in before you were tackled. Maybe your nose from the head butt from the asshole who called you stupid names and you were too drunk just to walk away. You're laying there, gathering yourself, wondering if your phone is around or is someone who was watching is calling an ambulance. And then a stray dog pads up and lifts its leg to take a piss on you.
So it was that the douchiest-named company ever, Freedom Industries, pumped all of the stored chemical, the one that seeped into the Elk River, out of the facility upstream from Charleston, West Virginia. It took 17 tanker trucks and the order of the state's Department of Environmental Protection (which, despite all appearances, seems to actually exist) to get it all out. The trucks went 17 miles up the road to the town of Nitro, which is still on the river, to the Par Industrial Park, the home of Freedom subsidiary Poca Blending. And, upon inspection, the state DEP "issued five notices of violation, or NOVs, alleging improper storage of materials that could contaminate groundwater, failure to follow a DEP-issued stormwater permit, [and] failure to provide required pollution discharge monitoring reports."
And it cited Freedom for not having proper "secondary containment" at Poca for chemical leaks like the one that got into the Elk River. You got that? The place near the river where they sent the chemicals that had leaked into the river was in just as sorry-ass shape as the first place. An inspection report said, "Secondary containment within the facility was deteriorated or non-existent..The plan indicates that the building itself acts a secondary containment, but holes exist at floor level in the building's walls." Yes, it is shocking. Well, not the shape of the facility, but that an actual inspection occurred.
So far about a third or so of the affected people have been told to flush out their water pipes and then start drinking the tap again. Here's the map as of a few hours ago:
It pretty clearly shows that the rural areas of the region are going to be the last to get the high sign to start flushing their systems. And that's pretty clearly where the dirt-poorest people live, the West Virginians whose lives were significantly disrupted long-term by the more and more ironically-named Freedom Industries. Those would be the people who, in the 21st century in the United States, have to walk up to a local spring with containers in order to get water, people who couldn't even afford to get into fights at Wal-Mart over the bottled stuff.
By the way, the chemical that was spilled, MCMH, isn't really very dangerous, not compared to the coal slurry everywhere, filled with chemicals that clean the coal from the destructive strip-mining in Appalachia. And if that gets into the water in a significant amount, if a dam that's holding back a small lake of slurry water at Brushy Fork breaks, well, then all the bottled water in the world ain't gonna save people from dying.
Nitro just got the word that it can start flushing its water. Of course, that's from last week's contamination. The town still smells like sweet licorice.