Elk River Chemical Spill Case: Company Responsible Files For Bankruptcy
Posted: Friday, January 17th, 2014 at 12:00 am
A chemical company in Charleston, West Virginia was held accountable when workers found that the company’s tanks were leaking dangerous chemicals right into the Elk river. The incident left 300,000 people of Charleston, West Virginia without water for many days. The responsible company, soon after its lack of care was discovered, filed for bankruptcy protection.
The company, known as Freedom Industries in Charleston, already faces numerous lawsuits prior to the discovery of the chemical leak from their storage facility’s 35,000-gallon tank. The chemical known as crude 4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) can cause severe irritation in the eyes and various skin infections which can prove fatal if not given medical attention. Almost 7,500 gallons had already been spilled in the river before the leak was reported and investigated.
When the State Department of Environmental Protection traced the chemical spill back to company’s storage facility near the Elk River, an instant warning was issued shutting down water supply across nine counties in West Virginia. Residents of the affected areas were forced to use bottled water for several days. Due to the strain of legal lawsuits against the company and investigations being conducted by the concerned authorities, Freedom Industries applied for bankruptcy protection in order to save some of the major assets and to give the creditors partial or full recovery of their money.
The company filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and listed assets/liabilities amounting between $1 million to $10 million. Among one of their creditors is the IRS to whom Freedom Industries owes at least $2.4 million. Among the creditors are some unsecured ones as well to whom the company owes $3.6 million of money.
Spokesperson on behalf of Freedom Industries stated that all of this money is available to be repaid while other liabilities will be settled soon. The company blames an unidentified object piercing its tanks on the ground which spilled the chemicals into the river, as stated in the filing for bankruptcy. On the other hand, the cleansing of the Elk river was done in few days and the water supply was restored again to the affected areas.