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Chemical Storage Bill Moving Through WV Senate

Reported: Jan. 24, 2014 5:13 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 24, 2014 6:22 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Bob Aaron) -- Legislation aimed at regulating chemical storage in the wake of the West Virginia water crisis that affected 300,000 people is moving through the state Senate.

Senate Bill 373 passed through its first reading Friday and appears headed for a vote by Tuesday.

The bill calls for almost all above ground storage tanks anywhere in the state to be regulated, but places like Freedom Industries, which are close to water plant intakes, would get annual inspections, as well as have their tanks certified safe by an engineering professional. The added inspection zone would extend 25 miles upstream of an intake.

Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, is pleased his somewhat changed bill is moving.

Others attending a meeting of the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission of State Water Resources wanted all chemicals tested for health effects before they could be used in West Virginia.

The state adjutant-general told the same committee he expected another week before testing would show the chemical crude MCHM had reached undetectable levels in 1,700 miles of West Virginia American Water pipeline.
A DEP official said Freedom Industries immediately knew a second chemical leaked from its plant into the river, telling its workers in an email. However, Freedom Industries did not let state government know about the second chemical until 123 days later.



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