Status of Above-Ground Storage Tank Regulation in WV — Risks Persist!

by Duane Nichols on March 10, 2015

Update on SB 423, Amending the Aboveground Storage Tank Act

Report by Karan Ireland for the WV Citizens Action Group, Charleston, WV, March 7, 2015

The committee substitute for S.B. 423, “Amending the Aboveground Storage Tank Act” is before the House Judiciary Committee today. Environmental and citizen groups do not support this bill because, event though it is better than the introduced version, it is still a weakening of last year’s SB 373.

The ideal scenario would be for SB 373 to have a chance to work. Barring that, here are improvements that must be made in order for us to be okay with it:

Necessary Improvements to SB 423 Aboveground Storage Tank Act

  1. Incorporate DEP’s risk-based rule. SB 423 does not incorporate DEP’s rule and would cause another year to go by without AST regulations in place – other than the initial registration, initial spill plans, and initial inspections. DEP’s Proposed AST Rule (47CSR63) was developed with extensive public input from industry and citizens to implement the Act. The rule divides tanks into three levels and requires more stringent protections for tanks that present the highest risks.
  1. Tanks that pose a risk to water supplies must be included. SB 423 exempts approximately 36,000 tanks from regulation under the Act. Roughly one-third of the deregulated tanks are located within 1,000 feet of a river or stream. These tanks should continue to be regulated under the Act as they are most likely to contaminate water if they should fail.
  1. Include stringent and explicit standards and accountability for tank and secondary containment integrity. The Freedom Industries disaster could have been avoided by regular tank inspections and a well-maintained secondary containment system.

SB 423 rolls back inspection requirements. Self-inspections should occur at least annually by qualified personnel. Tanks close to water intakes need to be inspected by DEP annually.

SB 423 rolls back Spill Prevention and Response Plan requirements. SPRPs need to be submitted to DEP and updated every 3 years, and must include info on stored chemicals.

SB 423 rolls back permit requirements. Individual permits for tanks closest to drinking water intakes should be required.

SB 423 creates an alternative means of compliance for nearly all tanks through modifications of existing permits or plans. SB 423 gives the DEP Secretary full discretion as to what standards are sufficient to protect waters of the state. It needs to explicitly require that modifications to permits or plans be as stringent as the standards in the Act so as not to create a loophole in regulation of ASTs. Public notice of these modifications should be required.

  1. Require necessary information for source water protection planning. SB 423 creates new restrictions on disclosure of information that could prevent water utilities from being aware of threats to the water system. Information about the location and contents of tanks, including data on stored chemicals, must be shared with water utilities.

Here is a link to Ken Ward’s article that followed last Friday’s public hearing on SB 423.


For more water updates, visit West Virginia Environmental Council

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Karan Ireland 1/22/14 March 10, 2015 at 9:04 pm

Candlelight Vigil, Charleston, WV 1/21/14

Karan Ireland and Genevieve Ireland speak to the ongoing WV chemical spill crisis that has left 300,000 West Virginians with contaminated water and an uncertain future …….

Check out their video on YouTube:


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