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State Senate Unanimously Passes Storage Tank Bill

Reported: Jan. 28, 2014 6:08 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 28, 2014 6:15 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kennie Bass) - Even as Senate President Jeff Kessler gavelled the upper chamber into session, there was little doubt about the fate of Senate Bill 373.

By a unanimous vote of 33-0, senators approved the measure which would enact tougher supervision and regulation of above-ground storage tanks, like the ones that leaked 10,000 gallons of Crude MCHM into the Elk River and the West Virginia American Water system.

"There was a bunch of businesses at the end of those days who had to throw out thousands of dollars of waste," Senator Chris Walters, Putnam County Republican said. "Had to throw out product that those small business owners and those large business owners at no fault of their own had to throw those out."

The bill requires the Department of Environmental Protection to inspect storage tanks every year. Facilities within 25 miles of water intakes would be given even closer looks.

It also mandates storage tank owners and operators develop plans and responses for spills. Additionally, they have to keep an inventory of every substance they are storing.

"It's a great step forward for West Virginia as far as securing the safety of our water," Senator Corey Palumbo, Kanawha County Republican said. "I don't think the bill is necessarily a cure-all but I think it's a great first step to make sure we close the gap on any regulatory loophole we had."

The bill also requires the state conduct an inventory of all available water resources. It now goes to the House of Delegates for consideration.



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