Exec pleads guilty for role in W. Virginia chemical spill

Workers pump 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, a foaming agent used in coal preparation process, out of a tank at Freedom Industries chemical storage facility following chemical spill into Elk River, Charleston, West Virginia (AP Graphics Bank)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – One of the final executives charged in a chemical spill that contaminated West Virginia’s biggest drinking water supply has pleaded guilty.

In federal court Tuesday in Charleston, former Freedom Industries executive Dennis Farrell pleaded guilty in front of Judge Thomas Johnston.

The plea deal calls for a sentence of 30 days to two years in prison, as well as a fine up to $200,000.

The bankrupt company and four ex-officials have already pleaded guilty to pollution charges. Ex-Freedom President Gary Southern has a hearing Wednesday, where he is expected to plead guilty.

Farrell and Southern had both previously pleaded not guilty.

In January 2014, a Freedom tank leaked coal-cleaning chemicals into the water supply for 300,000 people, spurring a ban on using tap water for up to 10 days.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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