This minimalist approach to disaster prevention was the only thing between the vomit sludge and a downstream water treatment facility for 300,000 people, but it could be worse: Not far from there is Marsh Fork Elementary, a school located 400 yards downslope from 2.8 billion gallons of toxicity being held at one of the state's largest chemical impoundments. If something goes wrong there, the kids will have less than five minutes for evacuation.
"I don't care how loud those sirens are. We are not leaving this classroom until one of you tells me the capital of North Carolina."
By the way, when the spilled chemicals at Freedom Industries were moved to a second nearby location, that facility was discovered to have the same goddamn safety violations as the plant that fucked the dog, as well as zero evidence of employee training for the last 10 years.
It kind of makes you wonder if these places ever get inspected ...
These Places Never Get Inspected (Unless Something Bad Happens First)
Pretty much every failure of basic industrial competence we've outlined for you could've quite easily been prevented with an outside party simply observing it and saying, "Hey, um, that's fucked up." Fun fact: The Freedom Industries plant hadn't been fully inspected in 23 years.
Ty Wright/The Washington Post/Getty Images
"'Report to the main office'? Oh, fuck this; just mark it 'Pass'."
If that sounds like a blatant oversight of regulations, don't worry -- it's totally not one! Thanks to the fact that MCHM had very little information to make it "hazardous," inspections were only required if there was a complaint or if a new chemical was being stored at the site. Otherwise it was "good luck with all those chemicals, we hope that's working out."
Of course, all this gratuitous lack of regulation must be getting the attention of Congress. So that's good, right?
"Double pinky swears from here on!"
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