January 21, 2014
Proposed legislation would implement above ground storage tank regulatory program in W.Va.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today, joined by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, Senate President Jeff Kessler, and House Speaker Tim Miley, announced new proposed legislation to implement an above ground storage tank regulation program in West Virginia.
“The last 11 days have been an extremely difficult time for so many West Virginians,” Gov. Tomblin said. “The discharge of chemicals or other contaminants into our water supply is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. This proposed legislation includes reasonable, common sense provisions to regulate above ground storage tanks across the state including those located in areas of critical concern near our public water supply and distribution systems.”
The Governor’s legislation will assure all above ground storage tanks are built and maintained consistent with required safety standards; require all public water systems to have written plans in place to prepare for emergencies, specifically in the event a contaminant is discharged in the water supply; and will protect the health and safety of West Virginians and the environment.
In addition, the legislation will empower the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to implement an above ground storage tank regulation program requiring all operators to self-report the location of all above ground storage tanks and detail on the construction and maintenance on each tank. It will also require written annual reports outlining any changes to on-site tanks.
“This legislation will not duplicate the state and federal regulator efforts already in place,” Gov. Tomblin said. “It requires a team effort - allowing our DEP to work with our public health officials at the Department of Health and Human Resources to make sure that our zones of critical concern near our waterways remain safe. We will continue to work collaboratively with our legislative leadership, who have already taken steps toward accomplishing these collective goals.”
The legislation also requires annual inspections and certifications by professional engineers and allows the Secretary of DEP to order a facility take corrective action when storing material that may impact the health and safety of West Virginians. In addition, it requires facilities to submit individual spill prevention response plans for each on-site above ground storage tank and will permit the DEP to assess penalties for a facility’s non-compliance.