W.Va. probing chemical release at Diversified

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ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia regulators are investigating a suspected chemical release at a company that cleaned up and hauled a coal-cleaning agent from the site of a January spill that contaminated the tap water of 300,000 residents.


The state Department of Environmental Protection said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency informed the DEP on Friday about a sheen in a drainage system near Diversified Services LLC in St. Albans. The department said the drainage system empties into a tributary of the Kanawha River.


It said inspectors are taking samples to determine the material’s composition. It isn’t known how much material got into the drainage system or when it happened. The DEP said there are no public water intakes immediately downstream from the site.


A statement said Diversified Services has been instructed to implement or install containment measures in the drainage system.


A call to Diversified was referred to an attorney who didn’t immediately return a telephone message Friday.


Court documents show Diversified Services received nearly $433,000 from Freedom Industries in January. The company had worked for Freedom Industries well before the Jan. 9 spill that spurred a water-use ban for days.


Freedom is also nearing a March 15 deadline to start tearing down its tanks at the Charleston site of the spill, per state orders.


U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin has said FBI investigators were at Diversified Services on Thursday but said he couldn’t comment on why they were there.


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