Ex-exec Sentenced to 1 Month in West Virginia Chemical Spill

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A former executive with direct oversight of a West Virginia chemical tank farm that leaked and fouled a drinking water supply has been sentenced to one month in federal prison.

Gary Southern also was fined $20,000 Wednesday in federal court in Charleston.

Southern was the last of six ex-Freedom Industries officials sentenced on pollution charges.

Four others were sentenced to probation; a fifth also received a one-month prison term. The company, which filed for bankruptcy eight days after the spill, was fined $900,000, although the judge said the fine was symbolic due to the company’s liquidation.

The January 2014 spill of a coal-cleaning agent into the Elk River in Charleston got into a water company’s intake and prompted a tap-water ban for 300,000 people for up to 10 days.