Can you put a price on your health? What about your child’s health? Or your neighbor’s? What about the health of 300,000 people? What is that worth? According to the federal government it’s worth about $11,000. That’s the amount that Freedom Industries, a West Virginia chemical company, was fined for contaminating the local drinking water for 300,000 people.
In January of this year, 10,000 gallons of a toxic coal cleaning chemicals leaked from Freedom’s containment area into the Elk River. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) cited Freedom for not keeping chemicals in “liquid tight” storage and for failing to provide employees with adequate safety railings over the storage areas.
The Marshall University Center for Business and Economic Research estimates that that fallout from the spill will set area businesses back approximately $61 million.
An interesting side note, Freedom had another chemical spill earlier this month – at the same site of the January spill. It was a different chemical this time, one with a “distinct licorice smell.”
Inspectors from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) visited the site and reported that it was clear. However, local news reporter Jessie Shafer of WOWK 13, visited the site hours after the spill tweeted that she and her crew were able to detect the chemical smell.
“No odors reported at the site today by public, but we were there. We smelled it clearly.”
Tests performed by the local water company showed no signs of contamination. story.com