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February 5, 2014

UPDATE: Chemicals in W.Va. spill may come to Windber

JOHNSTOWN — Thousands of gallons of the chemical that spilled into 300,000 people's water supply are leaving West Virginia and may be headed to Windber.

Freedom Industries expected to move 3,500 gallons of crude MCHM from its Nitro facility to a coal washing facility in Pennsylvania on today.

Freedom expects to move more chemicals in upcoming weeks. It's unclear where the chemicals are heading. Freedom's parent company is owned by J. Clifford Forrest, who runs Kittanning-based Rosebud Mining Co.

Pennsylvania Department of  Environmental Protection spokesman John Poister said the chemical is used routinely in coal washing plants and is not regulated as a hazardous substance. It is regulated under the DEP container regulations, which are quite stringent, Poister said.

Rosebud's Windber operation includes one of the company's five coal washing facilities in southwestern Pennsylvania, Poister said.

The chemical is used in a closed-system froth flotation process that separates valuable minerals, Poister said.

For more on this story, see Thursday's editions of The Tribune-Democrat.

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