Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said the proposed rules would regulate
above-ground tanks, including those near public water supplies and
"The discharge of chemicals or other contaminants into our water
supply is unacceptable and will not be tolerated," Tomblin, a
Democrat, said in a joint statement with U.S. Senator Joe Manchin,
also a Democrat, and the heads of the state Senate and House of
Tomblin said the legislation would in part assure that above-ground
tanks were built and maintained in line with safety standards.
About 300,000 people around Charleston, the state capital, were
banned from using tap water for anything but flushing toilets
following the January 9 spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or
crude MCHM, into the Elk River.
The spill from a Freedom Industries tank was about a mile upriver
from the area's main water plant, West Virginia American Water, a
unit of American Water Works Company Inc.
Tomblin declared a state of emergency while the chemical, used in
coal processing, was flushed out of the water system.
West Virginia authorities completely lifted the ban on the use of
tap water on Saturday, but advised pregnant women to continue using
alternative water sources.
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Tomblin said the legislation would allow the state Department of
Environmental Protection to implement an above-ground tank
regulation program that would require operators to report tanks'
location, construction and maintenance.
It also requires annual inspections and certifications and allows
the head of the environmental agency to order a plant to take
corrective action when storing potentially harmful material. Plants
also would have to submit spill prevention plans for each tank.
Tomblin said the legislation would not duplicate state and federal
Freedom Industries, a maker of specialty chemicals, filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington;
editing by Edith Honan and
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