ANMOORE, W. Va. – An Anmoore manufacturing plant is facing multiple breaches following an alleged equipment failure on Dec. 29 that caused an oil spill.
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Chief Inspector of Environmental Enforcement Brad Wright said Amsted Graphite Materials (AGM) uses an oil separation system / water that was malfunctioning.
“The water is discharged through several oil/water separators, and it is my understanding that the reservoir associated with this system has failed and the water has overwhelmed all of the separators and reached the creek,” Wright said.
Wright said the amount of oil that entered the creek has not been determined, but he said there was no documented damage to aquatic life. The release created a splinter in Ann Moore Run, Elk Creek and the West Fork River which extended ten miles downstream.
“We in environmental law enforcement ensure that a party responsible for a discharge fulfills their duty to remedy or render harmless any discharge into state waters,” Wright said.
DEP inspectors were not at the scene of the spill before it happened and reported it as “good” at the time. A few hours later, the spill was reported and DEP personnel were dispatched to the scene. Monitoring of the area continued for about a week after the spill.
“We will take a closer look at the entire facility for an inspection, and based on the combined results of our investigation of this release and the site inspection, we will determine our next steps,” Wright said.
Wright said AGM has violated drinking water standards in the past, and those past violations will be considered in the penalty phase when that inspection and investigation is complete.
“We have had informal and formal enforcement actions on Amsted Graphite Materials in the past,” Wright said. “They have reported releases in the past, and the Environmental Protection Agency has also taken enforcement action against Amsted Graphite Materials in the past.”